Although medication is the typical remedy for hypertension, there are a few natural ways to lower blood pressure. A few dietary and lifestyle changes can help your loved one manage hypertension.
Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional in-home elder care. Lancaster, PA, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. Here are 5 holistic ways to lower blood pressure.
1. Go Easy on Salt
Monitor your loved one’s sodium by reading nutrition facts labels on food packaging. Aim to stay below the Mayo Clinic guideline of 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. This single dietary change can significantly drop blood pressure. To reduce salt, you may want to follow the suggestions of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:
- Rinse canned goods
- Don’t add salt to food
- Flavor meals with salt-free seasonings
- Serve low-salt cereal, rice, and pasta mixes
- Buy plain vegetables, either fresh or frozen
- Avoid commercially prepared pizza, frozen dinners, soups, and salad dressings
2. Prepare Food with Herbs and Spices
Celery Seed – This plant lowers cholesterol and boosts fluid release. Add it to homemade salad dressings, sandwich fillings, vegetable dishes, and sauces.
Cinnamon – This spice is beneficial for people with diabetes. Sprinkle cinnamon on cereal, toast, oatmeal, and fruit.
Cardamom – With a taste akin to cinnamon, add cardamom to soup, fruit, and ice cream.
Flaxseed – Omega-3 fatty acids protect arteries from hardening by cutting down cholesterol. For optimal digestion, buy the seeds ground and add to cereal, yogurt, and egg dishes.
Ginger – Despite its pungent smell, ginger relaxes blood vessels and boosts circulation. With a warming effect, it’s a comforting winter beverage. For convenience, buy it ground. Ginger enhances the flavor of vegetables, pasta, and soup.
Note: Before using these herbs and spices, consult with a pharmacist to ensure they’re not contraindicated with your loved one’s medicines.
3. Increase Potassium Intake
This mineral eliminates excess sodium and eases pressure against blood vessel walls. Potassium powerhouses are:
- Apricots, bananas, oranges, and melons
- Beans, broccoli, spinach, and tomatoes
- Coconut water
- Milk and yogurt
- White and sweet potatoes, with skins intact
4. Minimize Stress
The human body can manage short bouts of tension. However, constant stress increases cortisol, a defensive hormone. This chemical constricts blood vessels and makes the heart pump harder. To offset the effects of stress, you can incorporate the following activities in your loved one’s day:
- Play peaceful music
Listening to music can decrease your loved one’s blood pressure, pulse, and heart rate. By absorbing his or her attention, music may divert unpleasant thoughts and emotions. Focusing on the melodies can quiet your loved one’s mind.
Studies show classical music is especially mollifying. It facilitates learning and memory, a benefit termed the “Mozart effect.” A University of California study found that student test scores rose after hearing music by Mozart.
Celtic music is also soothing. Subjects in a University of Florence study were able to cut their systolic pressure by three points in one week by listening to Celtic music for 30 minutes daily.
- Engage in plant care
Taking care of plants lowers blood pressure, increases focus, raises productivity, and dissolves anxiety. Gardening reduces cortisol. Easy-care houseplants to obtain for your loved one include African violet, Chinese evergreen, peace lily, philodendron, and spider plant. Springtime is ideal for taking your loved one to a public garden. Also, if possible, help him or her tend a small plot at home.
- Promote pet interaction
Spending time with a pet reduces stress by triggering oxytocin. This hormone calms the heart rate, lowers cortisol, resolves pain, and quells anxiety. If your loved one’s living situation prevents keeping a pet, he or she can volunteer at an animal shelter.
Shelters rely on volunteers to care for pets awaiting adoption. Some shelters have pet socialization programs. Volunteers give the pets personal attention to make them more adoptable. With volunteer training, your loved one can enjoy all the benefits of pet care.
By managing stress, your loved one can also stave off dementia and other forms of cognitive decline. If your elderly loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, trust in the Lancaster dementia care experts at Home Care Assistance to help him or her manage the condition while continuing to live at home. In addition to high-quality dementia care, we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke care.
5. Consume Several Cups of Tea Daily
A 2004 study reported by WebMD found that drinking oolong or green tea daily can lower hypertension risk by nearly 50 percent. Antioxidants called flavonoids relax blood vessels. Green and black teas produce similar results since they’re both derived from the same Camellia species.
One very potent type of green tea is matcha, which contains high levels of a flavonoid known as EGCG. Matcha has 100 times the potency of EGCG as regular green tea, and it is available in powder form, so you don’t need to strain it. Just add it to hot water to prepare a refreshing cup of tea.
To further increase EGCG absorption, add a teaspoon of lemon juice. Citrus enhances bioavailability by 80 percent. Avoid flavoring tea with milk and sugar since they impair its health benefits.
Hibiscus tea is also effective in lowering blood pressure. In 2008, Tufts University conducted a study on the tea. Over a period of six weeks, subjects who drank three cups daily saw their systolic number drop by seven points.
If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits, consider hiring a professional home caregiver. Lancaster families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide dedicated and compassionate in-home caregivers who are trained in our holistic Balanced Care Method, which was designed to encourage seniors to exercise often, eat nutritious foods, maintain strong social ties, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. To learn about our holistic approach to home care or to hire a professional caregiver for your senior loved one, give us a call at (717) 540-4663 today.