High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than what is normal. There are three factors cause hypertension- genetic, environmental, and the combination of genetic and environmental factors. Hypertension puts people at risk for developing serious illnesses such as heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. But how much can herbs and a lifestyle help reduce high blood pressure? Explore the facts in this blog post.
What is high blood pressure?
The blood circulates inside the blood vessels creating pressure by pushing against the veins and arteries. A blood pressure reading consists of two levels denoted in mmHg ( millimetres of mercury).
If your reading shows 120/80 mmHg, then 120 represents the highest blood pressure level when your heart contracts, known as systolic blood pressure. Whereas 80 represents the lowest blood pressure level when your heart relaxes, also known as diastolic pressure.
Types of High blood pressure
High blood pressure can be classified into two types such as essential hypertension and secondary hypertension. According to John P. Cunha, essential hypertension is the most common among people. And he explained that the stiffness and lack of elasticity in arteries are the root cause of high blood pressure.
Now, let's learn about the causes of hypertension here.
Causes of High blood pressure
Stiffness in arteries and veins can elevate blood pressure, and this can happen, in part, due to an increase in wastage deposition in arteries. Also, it can be due to insufficient nutrients or oxygen in the blood. When this happens, the heart attempt to compensate by pumping more blood and supplying oxygen to vital organs. The increase in pressure against the vessel walls is what is known as blood pressure. High blood pressure can also be caused due to the food you eat and a combination of several other factors.
The foods that we consume nowadays contain chemical ingredients that get clogged up in every nook and corner of the body, such as; the nose, mouth, skin, armpits and genital organs. The waste that gets settled in the body can lead to more serious conditions such as cysts and tumours. The same scenario can happen with veins and arteries, which can lead to stiffness and a lack of elasticity in the veins/arteries.
Now, let's take a look at the list of food that causes high blood pressure and other diseases among black people.
Blood is made of red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Among the other blood components, plasma contains 90% water. In ancient Egypt, salt was mainly used as a preservative but it was not included it in their meal. But now, salt has become a staple ingredient in our meals.
When you intake salt, the liver absorbs the 5 milligrams of salt present in the bloodstream, and the rest gets circulated in the body. Now, the salt present in the blood absorbs moisture that is essential to keep the veins and arteries flexible (salt has a drying effect, used in mummification). Also, while reducing the moisture from the blood, oxygen gets depleted from blood cells. In order to compensate for the lost moisture and oxygen, the body increases the oxygen level and blood flow and this can result in high blood pressure.
According to some studies, the haemoglobin present in red blood cells acts as a biosensor to adjust the blood flow to the tissues and organs. When the oxygen levels are high in the bloodstream, haemoglobin scavenges excess nitric oxide like molecules known as s-nitrosothiol (SNO) and oxygen to reduce the blood flow. At the same time, if the oxygen level drop, Nitric oxide(NO) is released to increase the blood flow. And the prolonged oxygen shortage in the bloodstream can deplete the nitric oxide in blood vessels, thus the blood vessels losing the ability to relax.
In 1700, the average person consumed 4 pounds of sugar per year. But according to a 2009 study, it is said that every American consumes 180 pounds of sugar per year. Globally, sugar consumption has increased over the years, leading to several issues in the human body.
Sugar dehydrates you. It removes the moisture and nutrients away from the joints, bones, arteries and veins. According to BBC research, drinking sugary drinks each day can abruptly increase blood pressure. Too much sugar in the bloodstream can disrupt the blood vessel and salt levels in the body.
Increased blood pressure is not only due to high sugar consumption but also due to various unnatural foods that we consume nowadays. In short, being mindful of the intake of junk foods high in salt and sugar can help you maintain blood pressure.
3. Cholesterol rich foods
Cholesterol is naturally produced by the liver, and it repairs the damaged arteries in the heart. Cholesterol seals the ruptured area, and if the cut exists for a long time, the cholesterol gets settled up, causing blocks in veins and arteries. When cholesterol level in the blood increases, it automatically increases blood pressure. Moreover, including more junk foods, meat, and dairy in the diet can elevate blood pressure.
How to reduce hypertension?
Prolonged high blood pressure can cause serious complications such as vascular dementia, stroke and heart attack. So it is important to focus on diet and lifestyle before it gets complicated. The best way to treat hypertension is to include herbal supplements in your diet.
Out of the various herbs, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) supplements and Cat’s Claw dried herb help to control the high blood pressure. Though the Cat's claw herb is more bitter than MSM, it is recommended to intake the herb to manage hypertension, and it provides better results.
In addition to the above herbs, you can also include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet such as Green tea, Kelp, Basil, water chestnut, Chamomile, Ginger root (ginger), Nutmeg, Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, Turmeric, Mint, Cumin, Coriander, Cinnamon, Oregano, and butcher's broom (Ruscus aculeatus).
Also, you can include the below-mentioned fruits in your regular diet.
- Blood Oranges
- Purple Plums
- Purple Grapes
- Red Pears
The anti-inflammatory vegetables to be included in your diet to reduce the blood pressure are:
- Broccoli Florets
- Brussels Sprouts
- Purple Cabbage
- Purple Peppers
- Red Peppers
Moreover, grains & nuts such as Quinoa, Spelt, Peanuts, Sesame Seeds, and Pistachio nuts contain coQ10 (a fat-soluble antioxidant) that helps regulate your blood pressure.
To conclude, the natural foods coming from the ground can help you reduce your blood pressure. And processed foods that are high in salt and sugar can disrupt your bodily system. Therefore intaking whole natural foods and including herbal supplements is the best way to treat high blood pressure.
Wishing you all the best. This not medical advice and should be treated as entertainment only, be sure to speak to an expert for personalised advice.