Every year, thousands are diagnosed with high blood pressure and immediately put on medication. While only your doctor can decide what the best treatment is in your particular case, there are actually many natural options for treating this condition, many of which can be used alongside traditional ones.
Physical activity is the number one natural prescription for high blood pressure. Exercise not only prevents hypertension, but also reduces blood pressure, sometimes as much as drugs do. Thirty minutes of activity done at an intense level for at least three days a week may be enough to make a difference. While cardiovascular exercise is the most effective, weight training also appears to have a positive effect.
Studies have shown the efficacy of several herbs on treating high blood pressure. Plants from the Crataegus species (hawthorn) and Panax notoginseng (ginseng) are two of the most popular. They cause no drug interaction and actually enhance the beneficial effect of drugs. Certain supplements, including garlic tablets and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), have been shown in clinical trials to reduce blood pressure significantly. In fact, people taking these supplements often go off their medication sooner and permanently. Folic acid can also help, especially in smokers.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends a special diet for people looking to lower their blood pressure. The diet, known as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, focuses on low-fat, reduced sodium foods, and recommends increased portions of vegetables and other foods with high-water content. In fact, it is a well-known fact that vegetarians have a much lower risk of suffering from high blood pressure than meat-eaters do, so anybody looking to change their diets should focus on plant-based foods.
Heavy drinkers and smokers have a higher incidence of high blood pressure, which means cutting on both these habits will have a positive impact. Caffeine does not seem to affect blood pressure in the long term, as the body adapts quickly enough to absorb it without major side effects.