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8 Effective Home Remedies For High Blood Pressure

8 Effective Home Remedies For High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure a.k.a the “silent killer” has reached near epic proportions in the U.S.   This dangerous condition affects a whopping 30 percent of Americans and leads to 60,000 deaths annually. High blood pressure or hypertension, has earned the moniker “the silent killer” [1] as it typically has no symptoms until after it has done significant damage to the heart and arteries. In fact, almost 20 percent of Americans who have high blood pressure don’t even know they have it and are unaware that they are at risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease and eye disease. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to be screened for it by a medical professional for it [2].

If you have been diagnosed or are predisposed to developing hypertension, there are a few things you can do to assist in managing or preventing this dreaded condition.

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1. Lose excess weight and pay attention to your waist line

This first home remedy for high blood pressure is widely known but very unpopular. However research shows that there is a direct correlation to one becoming overweight and an increase in blood pressure. [3] Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea), which further elevates your blood pressure. Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. Losing just 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) can help reduce your blood pressure. When shedding the weight, experts suggest that you pay special attention to your waistline. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure.

2. Exercise regularly

This next home remedy for high blood pressure seems to be the cure for everything. Exercise is hugely important in longevity and quality of life. Regular physical activity — at least 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury [4]. It’s important to consistently incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle, because once you become sedentary, your blood pressure can rise again. If blood pressure is only slightly high (prehypertension), exercise can help you avoid developing full-blown hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can assist in maintaining lower pressure levels.

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3. Modify your salt intake

Certain groups of people—the elderly, African Americans, and those with a family history of high blood pressure—are more likely than others to be particularly salt (or sodium) sensitive. [5] However, there is no precise way to determine whether any one individual is sodium sensitive, so everyone should lower their sodium intake, says Eva Obarzanek, PhD, [6] a research nutritionist at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. How much should we lower it? According to Dr. Obarzanek, to about 1,500 mg daily,  which is about half the average American intake (half a teaspoon of salt contains about 1,200 mg of sodium). Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg.

4. Indulge in dark chocolate

This, by far, is my favorite home remedy for high blood pressure. Dark chocolate varieties contain flavanoids, which make blood vessels more elastic and lowers blood pressure. One particular study found that dark chocolate, the kind that contains at least 50 to 70 percent cocoa, lowered blood pressure in all participants, but most notably in those with hypertension. During the experiment, 18% of patients who ate it every day saw blood pressure decrease [7]. All it takes is half an ounce daily.

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5.  Reduce stress

Research is definitive when it comes to stress–chronic prolonged stress can kill you. Research shows that most chronic stress is generally, work related. Working more than 41 hours per week increases your risk of developing hypertension by 15%, according to a University of California, Irvine, study of 24,205 California residents. Putting in overtime makes it hard to exercise and eat healthy, says Haiou Yang, PhD, the lead researcher in the study [8]. It may be difficult to leave early or even on time every day in today’s tough economic times, but try to leave at a decent hour—so you can go to the gym or cook a healthy meal—as often as possible. Rest and relaxation also is a huge stress reducer. Be sure to take breaks during the day and try to take non-working vacations as often as possible. Breaks make you more productive which will help ease some of that work place tension.

6. Eat a healthy well balanced diet

Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins and goes easy on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg. When possible, choose low-sodium alternatives of the foods and beverages you normally buy and eat fewer processed foods. Only a small amount of sodium occurs naturally in foods. Most sodium is added during processing and preparation.

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7. Use herbs and herbal supplements

Herbs combined with a healthy lifestyle are a natural way to help your body heal itself. If you are thinking of trying herbs for medical purposes, whether that means using the whole herb or a supplement, always consult a physician. Some herbs, especially in large quantities, may produce undesirable side effects or interfere with other medications [9]. Some herbs that are believed to assist with lowering blood pressure are:

  • Basil
  • Cinnamon
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Hawthorne
  • Celery Seed
  • Lavender

8. Go easy on the caffeine

Scientists have long debated the effects of caffeine on blood pressure. Some studies have shown no correlation between the two, but one study that came out of Duke University Medical Center found that caffeine consumption of 500 mg—roughly three 8-ounce cups of coffee—increased blood pressure by 4 mm Hg, and that effect lasted until bedtime. Caffeine can raise blood pressure by tightening blood vessels and magnify the effects of stress, says Jim Lane, PhD, an associate research professor at Duke and the lead author of the study. His study found that when you’re feeling stressed, your heart, beats faster and  pumps a lot more blood which raises your blood pressure. Adding caffeine to the mix exaggerates that effect. Researchers suggest switching to decaf drinks or going with tea [10].

Hypertension is a medical condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated by a licensed health care professional. Once diagnosed patients are often given medicine to help regulate their blood pressure and most often the doctor outlines a list of lifestyle changes the patient should make in order to assist in lowering blood pressure. In many cases, a few simple tweaks to your lifestyle can shorten the span of time requiring medication and may eliminate the need for it altogether.

Featured photo credit: Администрация Волгоградской области via commons.wikimedia.org

Reference

[1]http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=13118
[2]http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/SymptomsDiagnosisMonitoringofHighBloodPressure/How-High-Blood-Pressure-is-Diagnosed_UCM_301873_Article.jsp#.WDS7F9UrKUl
[3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072415/
[4]http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/safe-exercise-tips#1
[5]http://www.gbhealthwatch.com/Trait-Salt-Sensitivity.php
[6]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3219218/
[7]http://www.aarp.org/health/medical-research/info-03-2011/dark-chocolate-can-help-lower-your-blood-pressure.html
[8]http://www.ucirvinehealth.org/events/health-classes/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/
[9]http://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/herbs-to-lower#CelerySeed0
[10]http://www.prevention.com/health/sleep-energy/health-facts-about-caffeine

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Last Updated on November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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