HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
How Acupuncture & Diet Can Help Naturally
Let’s be real: High blood pressure is nothing to scoff at. It’s also not that uncommon in Americans. According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, a condition which can lead to more serious diseases, like stroke and heart disease. But enough doom and gloom — if you (or your family) have a history of high blood pressure, how can you manage it?
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, there’s actually a lot you can do to ward off hypertension. Specifically, the ancient TCM practice known as acupuncture has been known to help reduce high blood pressure. There are some fun foods you can try as well to help out. We’ve covered what you need to know below.
What TCM Says About Acupuncture and High Blood Pressure
When discussing a condition like high blood pressure, it’s important to understand TCM philosophy and how it relates to your body. In general, TCM holds that your body desires a balanced, healthy state. An unhealthy condition like hypertension implies that something about your lifestyle needs to change to restore this balance.
This usually means an increase in physical activity or a change in diet. While both are certainly improvements, TCM also advocates the use of herbal formulas and acupuncture to reduce symptoms. Acupuncture in particular helps release your body’s stress, which is believed to be a root cause of hypertension.
So, how does it help?
TCM views the body as a giant source of innate energy known as “qi.” Qi flows through your organs via channels known as meridians, or “jing luo.” These meridian points, or “acupoints,” are scattered all over your body. By piercing these acupoints with a thin needle, you release stress and tension from your meridians, which restores the flow of qi and lowers your blood pressure.
What Science Says About Acupuncture and High Blood Pressure
Treating the body with an ancient healing modality like acupuncture doesn’t sit well with Western methods, which usually call for medications to treat conditions like high blood pressure. For this reason, you may be skeptical if acupuncture can really help you or not.
However, many studies support the efficacy of acupuncture in treating high blood pressure. For example, researchers at the University of California-Irvine (UCI) scientifically confirmed in a recent study that the use of acupuncture is in fact beneficial for people with mild to moderate blood pressure. Another study claimed that acupuncture had the same result as nifedipine, a pharmaceutical medication used to treat high blood pressure.
So, should you ditch what your doctor tells you and just start seeing an acupuncture specialist? Absolutely not! The best plan would be to discuss acupuncture with a healthcare professional first. If anything, acupuncture can help you regulate your blood pressure, but shouldn’t replace your prescribed medication.
5 Fun Foods That Help Reduce High Blood Pressure
A big part of reducing your blood pressure is your diet. However, that doesn’t mean you need to consume copious amounts of garlic to sustain a healthy body. There are better ways to eat that are less offensive to your breath and those around you. (Or you can take the garlic with fresh green parsley!)
If you’re trying to reduce your high blood pressure, here are five healthy foods you can consume to do just that:
1. Leafy Greens and Vegetables
Leafy greens are high in potassium, which helps your body get rid of sodium. Here are the types of greens you should try:
- Romaine lettuce
- Turnip Greens
- Collard Greens
- Beet Greens
- Swiss Chard
If you have a hard time eating all your greens before they go bad, try freezing them. They won’t lose their nutrients and they’re healthier than canned greens. If you don’t want to cook or put much effort into your meal, blend your greens into a nice, healthy juice!
2. Yogurt Parfait
Regular Greek yogurt is great for those with high blood pressure since it has less sugar than other types of yogurt. It’s also high in calcium and low in fat. Many of us can’t get into yogurt by itself, so mix with it granola and your choice of berries in the morning for a more flavorful, healthy meal.
3. Oatmeal and Bananas
Remember how potassium is ideal for reducing salt? That’s why bananas are a great go-to if you’re looking to up your potassium intake. Oatmeal is a great food to pair with banana since it’s high in fiber, low in fat, and low in sodium. Put the two together and you’ll be full in no time.
4. Any Fish Rich in Omega-3s
Any fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids is ideal for reducing high blood pressure (think salmon or mackerel). Fish is easy to cook and pretty versatile when it comes to pairing it with other food. A classic, easy way to prepare your salmon is to squeeze lemon and oil on it, then wrapping in tin foil and baking it at 400 degrees in the oven. While it’s in the oven, boil penne or orzo pasta and quickly cook up some spinach.
5. Whole Grain Muffins
Whole grains are great for your heart and high blood pressure. They’re kind of boring to eat, though. To make it more of a gustatorially-pleasing experience, try cooking up your own whole grain muffins with blueberries. A recent study confirmed that blueberries can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, so why not indulge in something good?
Do you have any questions or comments about high blood pressure and acupuncture? Maybe you have your own recipes or foods you’d like to contribute? Feel free to share below!