Calming the Nervous System
Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
- Hypertension High blood pressure 140 and above over 90 and above
- Pre-Hypertensive blood pressure 130 to 139 over 85 to 89
- Normal blood pressure is 120 to 129 over 80 to 84
- Optimal blood pressure is less than 120 over 80
The World Health Organization has found that acupuncture and herbal formulas are comparable to certain drugs that are prescribed for high blood pressure but without the side effects. Acupuncture points are selected to “calm” the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system to help relax the overall body, heart valves and lower their pressure at contraction and relaxation.
Healthy eating to lower your blood pressure.
The DASH diet, developed by researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is based on a large-scale research study that identified the foods that affect blood pressure. The most important parts of the DASH are generous amounts of fruits and vegetables and low-fat or fat-free dairy products that provide adequate calcium. The diet is also relatively low in fat and sodium. DASH researchers have shown that diets rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium, and low in sodium (2,400 mg or less), play an important role in high blood pressure treatment. People with high blood pressure should incorporate the components of the DASH diet into their daily routine.
In addition, make sure you do the following to lower high blood pressure:
- Eat 8 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
- Limit animal protein to 6 oz per day, emphasizing lean sources.
- Say no to salt. Those with salt sensitivity or a family history or hypertension may benefit from reducing salt to about one teaspoon a day (2,400 mg).
- Use garlic, which has a modest effect on lowering blood pressure and may help relax blood vessels.
- Consume 4 to 5 servings of nuts, seeds and dry beans per week (2 Tbsp nuts or seeds, or 1/2 cup cooked dried beans).
- Eat plenty of fish. Include at least three servings of fish a week, emphasizing cold-water fish like wild Alaskan salmon and sardines, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Take fish-oil supplements if you cannot get enough omega-3-rich foods.
- Take calcium and magnesium. Inadequate intake of both of these minerals has been associated with high blood pressure. Women should get between 1,000 and 1,200 mg of calcium a day from all sources, while men may want to get no more than 500-600 mg daily from all sources.
- Take vitamin C. A supplement of this antioxidant vitamin has been shown to lower blood pressure in people with mild to moderate hypertension. (1)
- Avoid processed foods such as condiments, salad dressings, lunch meats, and many canned vegetables. Many contain high amounts of sodium.