High blood pressure or hypertension is a lifestyle disease that afflicts one in eight Indians (source: National Family Health Survey) and is termed as a ‘silent killer’ as detection often happen too late. Much like other lifestyle diseases, you just need to make a few tweaks to your lifestyle to protect yourself from the disease.

Dr Priyanka Sampat, senior doctor at Birla Ayurveda, says that Ayurvedic medicines like Jatamansi, Sarpagandha, and Amalaki (prescribed by doctors) can be helpful. “If high blood pressure is caused by eating untimely food or refrigerated food, then dry ginger can help. If it is due to intake of junk food, then try herbs like Malabar nut (vasa), silk cotton tree (Katankari) or green potato (Parol). If it is the result of stress, anxiety and intake of alcohol or acidic food, then sandalwood, lotus, and Shatavari can be of help,” says Dr Sampat, who also recommends Panchakarma or the set of 5 therapies that help in clearing toxins from the body.

Dr Manoj Kutteri, wellness director, Atmantan, says that psychological and somatic factors need to be considered in treatment of hypertension. He recommends milk preparation with garlic, moringa (drumstick) leaf juice with honey, a combination of amla and gokshura, arjuna bark powder decoction or milk preparation, Sarpagandha preparations and Brahmi and Giloy Shankapushpi to control high blood pressure.

You can also make certain dietary changes to reduce high blood pressure. Dr Sampat advises patients to avoid excessively spicy, sour and salty foods like chilies and papad, garam masala as it elevates body temperature, foods with preservatives like ready-to-eat preparations and pickles, breads and flour (maida) products, untimely food habits, excess eating after sunset and refrigerated food items.

Instead, add foods like moong, wheat, fruits like pomegranate and amla, garlic, ghee and milk to your diet. “Have only fresh, warm food and avoid binge-eating. Follow the seasonal regime and adopt food habits accordingly. Have an early dinner and include sweet, astringent and bitter foods as they clear pitta and reduce blood impurities,” says Dr Sampat.

A fat and oil-free diet is also recommended as it may aggravate vata and kapha qualities in the body. “Drink an adequate amount of water in specified intervals. Include more greens in the diet. Consume more of carrots, flaxseeds, tomatoes, drumsticks, pomegranates, sesame, wheat bran and ginger, beetroot, red cabbage, watermelon and apple,” says Dr Kutteri.

Certain yogasanas that can help you beat hypertension are Pranayam, Shavasan, Anulom-vilomma, Mayurasan, Shirshasan, Veerbhadrasan, Bhujangasana, and Vajrasana. “Pranayam and meditation play a major role in managing hypertension. Simple meditation like Kevala Kumbhaka or breath awareness meditation will also help reduce high BP,” says Dr Kutteri.

You can also make certain lifestyle changes to live a healthier life and avoid hypertension. So, you must avoid staying awake at night or sleeping immediately after meals, having late-night meals and bingeing, consumption of alcohol, smoking, or tobacco, getting angry or anxious, excessive exercise or excessive physical activity, says Dr Sampat.

“Ayurveda recommends daily and seasonal routines to manage hypertension, be it waking up before sunrise, drinking 2-4 glasses of room temperature water, gargling with sesame oil, morning yoga/exercise and meditation,” says Dr Kutteri.

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