WHO estimates that around 1.13 billion people globally are suffering from hypertension and, most of these individuals belong to low- and middle-income countries. This international body also says that less than 1 in 5 people with the problem of high blood pressure is able to reach normalcy.
Blood pressure is basically the amount of force exerted by your blood on your arteries while being circulated in the body. When this pressure increases, the condition is called hypertension or high blood pressure. Your heart pumps blood to your body in order to circulate oxygen and minerals throughout. This pumping action actually creates pressure in the arteries that carry the blood. Though there is no known cause behind high blood pressure, scientists believe that factors like old age, family history, obesity, lack of physical exercise, smoking, mental stress, etc. can potentially contribute to this health problem. Usually, high blood pressure is not characterized by any symptom. But some people do experience signs like a headache, nosebleed, heart palpitation, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, breathlessness etc. If not taken care of on time, it may lead to complications like stroke, heart attack, blood clots, kidney disease, metabolic syndrome, memory problem, etc.
Frequent sauna bathing can decrease your risk of developing hypertension: Study
Have you ever though that something as simple as taking a sauna bath can help you tackle a health problem? According to a recent research published in the American Journal of Hypertension, relaxing activity like sauna bath has the potential to reduce the pressure exerted on your artery walls.
The study was conducted at the University of Eastern Finland. It was a population-based follow-up research. For the study, the scientists enrolled 1,621 middle-aged men. All of them were living in the eastern part of Finland. These men were then divided in three groups based on their habits of taking sauna bath. Those falling in group A were those who used to take sauna bath once a week. Second group was of those who went for sauna bath two to three times a week, and the third group included those preferred going for the same four to seven times a week. Additionally, these subjects never recorded blood pressure of more than 140/90 mmHg, neither they were diagnosed with hypertension before the study.
Further, the study team followed then for 22 years. The research result found that 15.5 per cent of the men among these, developed hypertension. Also, the risk of developing high blood pressure was 24 per cent less among men who preferred a sauna bath two to three times a week. This risk was 46 per cent less among those who had sauna bath four to seven times a week.
Later, the scientists explained that frequent sauna bathing potentially improves function of the inside layer of blood vessels. This has positive effects on systemic blood pressure. Also, you experience sweating after taking sauna bath. And, sweating actually helps remove fluid from the body. This further helps in decreasing your blood pressure levels.
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
If your doctor has been asking you to keep a tab on your blood pressure levels, then along with your medications you can try some of these home remedies to help keep hypertension in check.
Garlic has been found useful in patients whose blood pressure is mildly elevated. It is believed that allicin in garlic increases the production of nitric oxide, that helps relax the muscles of the arteries, reducing both the diastolic as well as the systolic blood pressure.
Obtained from the Moringa oleifera plant, drumsticks are called Sahjan in Hindi. They are known for their high content of protein and valuable vitamins and minerals. Studies have found that extracts from the leaves of this plant help to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Traditionally, the amla plant has been used to lower blood pressure. Recent studies have found that aqueous extracts of the leaves of the amla plant help reduce diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Apart from that amla extracts also have the ability to reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood and the liver, which could contribute to its antihypertensive action. It is believed that the vitamin C content of amla may also play a role in widening the blood vessels and this may help to reduce blood pressure. Amla is an important component of the Triphala mixture that is commercially available and known to help lower blood pressure.
Also called mooli in Hindi, it is a common vegetable that is used in Indian kitchens and has been shown to have antihypertensive action. This action may be a result of the high content of the mineral potassium which helps to counter the BP-increasing effects of a high-sodium diet. Radish can be cooked as a stir fry dish or even better, be eaten raw in a salad or grated and mixed with yogurt to give a tasty raita.
In experiments, sesame or til seed has shown an ability to reduce both diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Sesame oil contains sesamin and sesaminol and these are believed to play a major role in reducing the oxidative stress in the body; this has an anti-inflammatory effect on the arterial walls, contributing towards a lowering of the blood pressure. Recent studies have found that combining sesame oil with rice bran oil helps to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients more effectively than taking antihypertensive medication alone.
Rauwolfia or Sarpagandha
Traditional medicine practitioners have used Rauwolfia in treating insomnia, snakebite, insanity and high blood pressure. The alkaloid reserpine extracted from this plant was one of the first potent treatments for hypertension. This helps to widen the blood vessels and lowers the heart rate; both these effects ensure the blood pressure stays low. Although both the root powder and tablets are available, it is vital Rauwolfia is taken under the supervision of a doctor because of its potent action.
Flaxseed or Alsi
Flaxseed or linseed is rich in a compound called alpha linolenic acid that is one of the important omega-3 fatty acids. Several studies have found that people with hypertension who include flaxseed in their diet have lower levels of cholesterol and also exhibit a lowering of blood pressure.
While these herbal remedies have shown promising results against hypertension, it is vital to remember that several factors can affect how well these remedies act. Therefore, if you suffer from high blood pressure and are on antihypertensive therapy, you ought to consult your doctor about using these remedies. Most importantly, never forget the other measures that can help keep your blood pressure within control – a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, cutting down on high fat dairy and meat products, eating less salt, having regular exercise and using techniques to keep the mind free of stress.
Published: August 20, 2019 10:28 am