High blood pressure (hypertension) is a silent killer. This means the condition doesn’t have obvious symptoms and it can even go unnoticed and untreated for many years.
To manage your blood pressure, you can make lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly and incorporating healing superfoods like berries and supplements into your diet.
Why alternative treatments are better than medication for hypertension
Doctors often prescribe medications for high blood pressure, but these drugs are often linked to negative side effects. For example, beta-blockers reduce blood pressure by blocking the effects of stress hormones like epinephrine.
But as these drugs block stress hormones, they slow down the nerve impulses traveling through your heart. This then makes your heart rate slow down and pump blood less forcefully throughout your body.
Beta-blockers can cause adverse effects such as:
- Cold hands and feet
- Dizziness or weakness
- Dry mouth, eyes and skin
- Fatigue or tiredness
Beta-blockers also cause less common side effects like:
- Low blood pressure
- Rash or itchy skin
- Slow heartbeat
- Swelling of the hands or feet
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
The best way to manage your blood pressure is by adopting healthy lifestyle habits, such as exercising regularly and following a balanced diet.
Getting quality sleep
Quality sleep helps your body heal and repair itself.
Research suggests that people with insomnia, sleep deprivation or sleep apnea are at risk of having elevated blood pressure, unlike those who get at least seven hours of quality sleep every night.
Monitor your sleeping patterns and behavior, then make necessary changes to promote quality sleep and manage your blood pressure. Try changing your sleeping habits and aim for at least six hours of quality sleep every night.
Stress and anxiety are also linked to elevated blood pressure levels.
If you are constantly stressed, make time for the following exercises to destress and relax:
- Combine breathing exercises with meditation to manage your stress and help your mind calm down. Breathing exercises can help make your nervous system more relaxed, which then decreases your blood pressure.
- Qi gong is a stress-relieving practice that involves breathing regulation and relaxing, slow movements.
- Yoga is good for your physical and mental health. However, if you are pregnant or have hypertension and sciatica, avoid certain yoga poses that may cause discomfort.
Biofeedback is an alternative treatment that will help you gain more control over the involuntary actions triggered by the nervous system. Experts also believe that biofeedback can help prevent and treat hypertension.
Durin a biofeedback session, a series of electrodes will be attached to your skin. These electrodes are connected to a monitor and they give out audio and visual signals.
These signals will help a biofeedback therapist gather data including your heartbeats, muscle activity and blood pressure. Through biofeedback, you can analyze bodily responses during certain conditions, such as when you’re stressed.
Your biofeedback therapist will help you find relaxation techniques that will best address your condition.
Progressive muscle treatment
Progressive muscle treatment also helps relieve stress and promote relaxation. The treatment involves exercises that tense your muscles and then relaxes them to help push your body to release a lot of tension at once.
Studies suggest that relaxing your body also promotes mental relaxation, which can relieve your stress and reduce its effects on your blood pressure.
Keeping your heart healthy and strong helps reduce your risk of having high blood pressure. Data has found that consuming berries regularly may help improve the condition of patients with hypertension.
Tight muscles in the arteries can cause blood pressure. But when you regularly consume magnesium-rich foods, the nutrient helps your blood vessels to relax.
Food sources of magnesium include superfoods like legumes, whole grains and vegetables.
Taking supplements are also recommended for natural blood pressure management.
- Aged garlic extract is often combined with traditional treatments for high blood pressure, but the extract is also effective when taken on its own. (Related: What are some of the best herbs and spices for regulating blood pressure?)
- Berberine increases the production of nitric oxide, which helps improve your blood pressure levels.
- Fish oil boosts heart health and helps decrease blood pressure.
- Hibiscus, which can also be consumed as a tea, is full of beneficial polyphenols and anthocyanins that promote heart health and a more stable blood pressure level.
Manage your blood pressure and prevent hypertension by exercising regularly, taking natural supplements and following a balanced diet.
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