More and more people are suffering from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Dubbed as "the silent killer," this dangerous condition often has no symptoms. Hypertension affects one in three American adults and only a portion of those who have been diagnosed are able to maintain their blood pressure. People who suffer from this condition often don't realize that they have it until it has progressed into much bigger problems like heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, and kidney disease.
Although there are conventional medications available for hypertension, these are associated with adverse side effects, so some patients prefer not to take them. Fortunately, there are many ways through which you can naturally improve blood pressure. These include regular exercise and eating anti-hypertensive foods, such as the following:
Cashews and almonds -- These nuts are great sources of magnesium, an essential mineral that plays a role in maintaining blood pressure. A previous study has shown that inadequate levels of magnesium increase blood pressure, while increasing your intake of this mineral significantly improves hypertension. Moreover, almonds also boost mood by increasing serotonin levels. This consequently lowers blood pressure since stress and anxiety are major contributors to this condition.
Turmeric -- This golden spice contains a compound called curcumin, which has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that turmeric significantly lowers blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide concentrations in the body. Nitric oxide acts as a natural vasodilator, meaning it causes blood vessels to relax and dilate so that blood can easily flow without causing too much pressure against the walls. To maximize the body's ability to absorb turmeric, take it with black pepper.
Kale -- Kale has recently gained worldwide popularity due to its many health benefits and one of these is its ability to lower blood pressure. This results from the synergistic effect induced by magnesium and potassium. Moreover, kale also has vitamin C that boosts the effects of these two minerals.
Fish oil -- The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are great for heart health and can serve as a natural remedy for high blood pressure. Moreover, there is a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in fish oil. Too much omega-6 can cause excessive inflammation, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality. A 4:1 ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 is enough to reduce mortality risk by up to 70 percent.
Garlic -- A study published in the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences revealed that eating garlic daily for six months significantly improves blood pressure. This effect is due to the presence of a sulfur compound called allicin, which is released when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed, or chewed. One problem that can arise from eating garlic is bad breath, but this can easily be remedied by drinking lemon juice or eating an apple.
Pomegranate -- Pomegranates are rich in compounds such as tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid that are known for their antioxidant properties. These compounds work together to prevent bad cholesterol from building up in the blood vessels. The absence of plaque allows blood to flow more freely and therefore reduces the risk of hypertension.
Stevia -- This natural sweetener contains stevioside and rebaudoside A, which significantly lower blood pressure. However, this effect can only be observed after three months of use so it's not as fast acting as other natural remedies.
Beetroot -- This brightly colored vegetable is packed with nitrates that can be converted into the natural vasodilator nitric oxide. It can reduce blood pressure by up to 10 mmHg in just a few hours. This value might not seem significant at first but take note that a 5 mmHg drop is enough to reduce the risk of fatal stroke by 14 percent. (Related: Pineapple-Beet Smoothie That Reduce Hypertension Naturally! How to Prepare it?)
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