One in three adults in the UK has high blood pressure and while the condition does not have any obvious symptoms, the effects on your health are serious.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is defined by a reading of above 140/90 - doctors like our pressure to be around 110/70. Our blood pressure rises when the arteries in our hearts grow narrower with age or due to deposits of cholesterol. Because of this, those with high blood pressure are three times more likely to develop heart disease and/or suffer a stroke.
If your blood pressure is severely high, you will need to take medication to help bring it down; however, if it is just on the way up, there may be some natural remedies you can try to help bring it back to normal.
The Journal of Family Practice published a study that showed eating wholegrain oat cereal instead of a refined version helped to lower blood pressure enough for some hypertensive patients to reduce their medication or come off it entirely. Try to eat plenty of wholemeal breads and pasta and always opt for wholegrain cereals.
Getting your five a day is a great start, but if you have high blood pressure, this should be a minimum. Fruit and vegetables both help to counteract the effects of salt, which is known to heighten blood pressure. Purple fruit and vegetables seem to be particularly beneficial thanks to their colour pigments called anthocyanins which help to increase blood flow and relaxes blood vessels. Try to include purple foods such as blackcurrants, aubergines and blueberries to feel the benefits.
While stress is not thought to significantly contribute to heightened blood pressure, relaxing can certainly help to lower it. Research has shown that those who listen to a relaxation CD three times a week for four months showed an average blood pressure drop of 6.4%.
Get a dose of vitamin D
Research has revealed that vitamin D could work as well as some blood-pressure medication. So if you aren't eating oily fish weekly or getting plenty of sun, consider taking a vitamin D supplement.
If you are interested in other complementary therapies, why not browse through our Therapy Topics to find out more?
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