Ways to lower blood pressure naturally should always because of the side effects of chronic medication be considered first; unless it's extremely high.
There are proven, well-researched ways to lower blood pressure naturally. Today we will look at both exercise and those foods that mitigate against hypertension.
An isometric exercise means there is no movement at the joint; and a static contraction of the muscles. Standing quite still in one place would be one example.
Another might be lifting a chair off the ground and then holding it in the air; the muscles in your shoulder will quickly tell you that you are indeed exercising despite the lack of movement.
Researchers publishing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, reviewing 270 randomised trials involving 16,000 people found that isometric exercises where the most effective way to lower blood pressure naturally; where there is no movement.
We have long been advised to spend at least two hours each week walking or playing sports like tennis. Yet researchers are now finding that light physical activities like gardening or hanging the washing, and simple gentle exercises are just as effective; and perhaps even more so.
The quadriceps muscles are a group of four that enable you to get up from a chair by straightening your knees; when they become weak the walker and wheelchair loom.
The quadriceps muscle is targeted by the chronic degenerative diseases. In diabetes for example, raised blood glucose damages the femoral nerve; the thigh begins to waste and the knee starts to give when using the stairs.
Osteoarthritis of the knee also causes the muscles of the knee to waste and shrink; it becomes very disabling. Ultimately we have to use a stick. Exercising the quadriceps muscle daily is imperative.
Now researchers have found much to their surprise that two simple isometric knee exercises not only strengthen the quadriceps muscle but also are the most effective way to reduce systolic blood pressure.
Running was the most effective way of reducing diastolic blood pressure, the lower figure, closely followed by these two simple isometric knee exercises.
The reduction was over 8 points; that's enough to get many people off blood pressure medication.
There are two simple isometric knee exercise that almost anyone can do; those who have had a total joint replacement would be advised to get professional advice on how to do them.
Sit in a comfortable chair and place another sideways in front of you so that you can hook your foot under the rail.
Simply extend your knee to about 60o, take the weight of the chair in front of you and hold your leg still until the quadriceps muscle begins to tire.
Start perhaps with about 15s, increasing the time the researchers recommend to 45 seconds; hold the weight of the chair without moving your leg.
Take a short break, up to one minute, and repeat five times.
One wants to aim for about 80% contraction of the quadriceps muscle so after about a week of doing the two-chair exercise daily, start to place a few books on the seat in front of you to increase the weight.
The isometric wall squat is considerably more vigorous; the mistake beginners always seem to make to go deep into the knee bend.
Take it slowly; you're not training for the Winter Olympics! If you go
at it too hard you may injure the knee or make the quadriceps painful.
Then you become discouraged; and endure the side effects of medication instead. A chronic cough is one of them.
Stand with your buttocks against a wall with your heels about 30cm in front of the plinth. Slowly bend your knees and lower the pelvis, stop and hold the position, starting again with about 15 seconds. Straighten the legs, raising yourself to the normal standing position again; take a break of up to one minute.
Repeat five times, gradually again increasing the time held in the isometric wall squat to 45 seconds. You'll find it quite strenuous.
Because of the long 60s break between the five repetitions, each of these exercises will take take about 10 minutes; that's quite long. Start by doing it that way, take the time initially to lower your blood pressure naturally.
But once you get the hang of it and begin to feel the benefit you can alternate the two-chair exercise with the wall squat.
First sit as described above and extend your knee with your foot under the rail of the chair in front of you for 45s. Now, instead of waiting a whole minute, move to the wall and do your isometric squat.
Then return to the chair and repeat; you'll be able to do both exercises in about ten minutes.
Some of the benefit of these ways to lower blood pressure naturally is simply an enforced slow down. Don't resent what you may initially feel to be wasting ten minutes. This short stoppage every day may just mean that you are not amongst the 25% of adults who will have a stroke; or a heart attack.
There are two villages in Sardinia, not too far from one another, with very similar cultures and diets. But one, higher up in the mountains is in one of the Blue Zones of the world; where ten times as many people reach well into strong and vigorous old age.
Researchers believe the only significant difference is that those in the mountain village daily walk up and down much steeper streets; and their homes have a lot more stairs. They are exercising their quadriceps muscles; quite naturally they have a way of life that lowers blood pressure.
True, these are not isometrics; taking the stairs instead of the elevator would contribute.
Drinking more water, about two litres a day, researchers found slightly raised diastolic blood pressure during the day in healthy individuals; there was no change at night.
It's good to drink more water but it is unlikely that it can be used as an intervention to lower blood pressure.
The normal interval for most people between supper and breakfast is probably around 12 hours. If you can increase that to 18h then after 5 weeks you can expect a drop of both systolic and diastolic readings by about 10 points.
That's very significant. Basically it means having supper earlier and then breaking the fast at morning teatime.
It's known as intermittent fasting. Even though you are eating exactly the same food you will lose weight and your blood pressure will drop.
Several epidemiological studies have shown that amongst those whose urine contains less than normal amounts of magnesium and calcium that mineral water did lower blood pressure in a group with borderline hypertension. Potassium probably also comes into the equation.
Without question a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, containing large amounts of minerals is protective against cardiovascular disease.
Dark-green leafy vegetables and whole grains naturally have large amounts of magnesium and calcium.
Fermented dairy products like kefir in particular have large amounts of readily available calcium.
In particular nuts have been shown to lower blood pressure; in many European cultures it is a common practice to enjoy three every day. Crack them yourself; the strength of the hands is now considered one of the vital signs that predicate how long you will live.
There's great synergy behind these simple lifestyle changes. The fibre in the spinach is one of the powerful remedies for chronic constipation. Research shows that the calcium in kefir is the most readily available form of the mineral; great prevention of osteoporosis.
Cracking your own nuts means the oils have not started to go rancid; and they taste so much better. It will help prevent or at least delay the onset of frailty syndrome. Aim to die healthy.
The lutein and zeaxanthin in corn on the cob will help prevent age-onset macular degeneration and cataracts.
When you add them together with these knee exercises, and using the stairs instead of the elevator you have powerful ways to lower blood pressure naturally.
Whether from the injury of skiing or football, or the neurological weakness from diabetes, many of us have significant problems in the undercarriage.
Patello-femoral pain syndrome is a big issue in Chiropractors' offices. Luckily it responds well to a simple program of mobilisation of the joint, more magnesium from our food and modest exercises. They are not specifically isometric so it is questionable whether they will contribute to lower blood pressure naturally.
Look at the bigger picture. Strong leg muscles and healthy joints are a huge part of wellness.
Ways to lower blood pressure naturally are well researched; this is not just a pipe-dream. A life almost without drugs is certainly within reach. Neither the good wife nor I, in our mid-seventies take any medication or supplements whatsoever.
Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach contain the nitrates that have been proven to relax the blood vessels naturally. People eating foods rich in magnesium have a 50% lower incidence of heart attack and stroke. It's all about hypertension.
Spinach incidentally is second on the list of vegetables and fruits with the highest pesticide residues; the bugs know how good it is. It's so easy to grow.