For most people, blood pressure problems involve high blood pressure, where the heart has to work very hard to pump blood. Not surprisingly, high blood pressure is one of the most important factors in causing heart disease. It is natural for blood pressure to rise in times of excitement and stress, but constant stress, smoking, a lack of exercise, too much alcohol, being overweight and a poor diet can cause it to stay permanently high.
Reduce your intake of salt. This means avoiding eating processed foods such as sausages, pies and crisps and most packaged, tinned or ready-made foods, as up to 70% of the salt we eat is in these foods. It’s also vital to eat fewer animal and dairy products and to drink less coffee and alcohol. Eat more fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, garlic, onions and leeks. Take garlic and vitamin E supplements, which have been shown to improve heart health, and a multivitamin and mineral supplement that includes potassium, calcium and magnesium. Chinese green tea makes a refreshing alternative to coffee and is less likely to raise blood pressure.
Regular massage can aid relaxation – use soothing essential oils such as lavender, marjoram and chamomile. Adding 4-6 drops of any of these oils to your evening bath can also help relieve the day’s stresses. The herbs hawthorn, lime flower and yarrow are excellent for anxiety and high blood pressure. Infuse 1tsp of dried herb in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes, strain and drink this amount twice a day. People with high blood pressure problems can benefit enormously from regular exercise such as yoga, walking or from practicing relaxation techniques like visualisation and meditation.