Hypertension Management Strategies Using Integrative Medicine

In light of the new Hypertension guidelines released this month, I wanted to write a post about Naturopathic approaches for blood pressure management. Hypertension, commonly referred to as, High Blood Pressure is a common health condition worldwide. There a variety of causes of hypertension, having to do with the heart, kidneys, liver, endocrine organs and the mind (stress and anxiety). Hypertension can cause symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, fatigue, and vision changes, depending on how severe it is. Over the past few decades, we have come up with marvelous drugs that manage hypertension quite well. But did you know that most cases of primary essential hypertension are actually due to diet and lifestyle? Similar to many other non-communicable diseases, hypertension can be managed beautifully instead of or in addition to pharmaceutical medications!
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  • The DASH diet is probably something you’ve heard of. It is one of the most studied and efficacious diets out there for Hypertension. It mainly focuses on salt restriction, and when done consistently, can lower your blood pressure by several points. This diet focuses on:
    • Increase fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
    • Limiting refined sugar and saturated fats
    • Eating fat free or low free foods
  • Some specific food items to focus on: flax seeds, celery, garlic, onion, parsley, olive oil, oats, pomegranate, blueberries, cucumbers, etc.
    Image Source: Everyday Health
Intentional movement and Exercise:
  • Engaging in cardiovascular exercise (i.e; walking, biking, running, swimming) for 30 minutes 5 times per week is a simple way to expedite the process of lowering your blood pressure and increasing your overall health. Alternatively, you can shoot for getting your 10,000 steps in every day, which you can monitor with devices like a FitBit. Try and make this fun and be gentle with yourself!
  • Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong, are great gentle energetic practices you can explore to not only get some exercise, but to introduce mindfulness and stress-reduction techniques into your day. All of these practices are really relaxing and can bring joy to your day.

Herbs and Nutrients:
  • CoQ10: This is a powerful antioxidant that is great for your heart health and for lowering blood pressure
  • Magnesium: Another great nutrient that is also helpful for digestion, sleep issues, and emotional disorders. Supplementing with magnesium is a really great blood pressure lowering agent
  • Hawthorn berry: This delicious berry is a cardiovascular tonic so it promotes overall heart health
  • Dandelion leaf: This lovely leaf works as a natural diuretic and provides small amounts of potassium
  • Hibiscus flower: This fragrant flower has similar actions to an ACE-inhibitor and provides an antioxidant effect too
Image source: The Chalkboard Mag
Acupuncture: Acupuncture is great for decreasing stress and worry. By focusing on regulating your heart, liver and kidneys, in addition to your emotional well-being, we can help establish a healthier state and lowered blood pressure.

It is important to regularly check your blood pressure to be in touch with your own health. This is especially true if you have known hypertension. Besides going to your health care provider for regular check-ups, you can get your own blood pressure cuff or simply go to your local drugstore or fire department to check your blood pressure as often as you’d like.

Want to get started on lowering your blood pressure? Drop me a line and we can get started!

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Medical Disclaimer: Naika, the writer of this blog, is Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist. Please do not take this as medical advice, without consulting your health care practitioner. Also remember, knowledge is power and your health is your wealth!