What are some natural evidenced based approaches that can be used to reduce blood pressure in a patient with hypertension, or prevent hypertension in an otherwise healthy patient?
- Several studies have been done on the effects of walking and high blood pressure
- One Korean study1 had 23 men with hypertension; they found that taking a 40 minute walk helped to reduce the blood pressure in the test subjects
- Avoid salt (sodium) because it puts higher strain on your blood vessels, which raises your blood pressure
- Eat fruits and vegetables (apples, bananas, grapes, broccoli, carrots) because they contain potassium, magnesium, and fiber, which all help to control blood pressure, and they are also low in sodium
- Other good foods to eat are nuts, legumes, and poultry
- Stress is an indirect cause of high blood pressure; sometimes people cope with stress by doing unhealthy things like smoking or eating junk food, which can raise blood pressure
- Meditation is a great way to reduce stress
- Get more sleep
There are only currently two main supplements you can take to help reduce blood pressure, beyond the advice of just exercising more, eating healthy and relaxing.
Hibiscus Sabdariffa (Roselle or Sour Tea) is a tea where the usually dark colored flowers are used to brew. It appears to inhibit carbohydrate absorption to a degree and appears to be effective in reducing blood pressure.
The 10mg is in reference to the total anthocyanin content, which appears to be the active ingredient; the exact quantity of anthocyanins should be listed on the label, or can be achieved with 5-10g of the flower's calyx steeped in tea. Tea can be used in lieu of supplementation, and should be similarly effective.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a food product that can improve immunity and cardiovascular health. Garlic supplementation appears to reduce blood pressure, and the magnitude is quite respectable in persons with hypertension (around 10 points systolic or 8-10%) whereas there is a smaller but present reduction in persons with normal blood pressure.