Turmeric receives a lot of press for its role in a healthy diet as well as addressing many chronic health conditions. One such condition is hypertension, which is why turmeric and high blood pressure is a popular search term on the internet. In this article, we will try to provide some guidance in understanding hypertension and how turmeric can be beneficial in its prevention and reversal.
High Blood Pressure Explained
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is when the heart has to work too hard to pump blood through the circulatory system of arteries, capillaries, and veins. This is sometimes the result of plaque buildup inside the blood vessels or by a decrease in elasticity of blood vessels as one ages.
Having said that, as many as 95% of high blood pressure cases in the U.S. are classified, strangely, as “essential hypertension” wherein the underlying cause cannot be found.
According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 75 million Americans have high blood pressure. That’s approximately one-third of all Americans. It’s called the silent killer because there are no visible symptoms and many people do not know they have it.
Pretty much anyone can have high blood pressure, but there are risk factors that make it more likely. For example, if you are obese, have a poor diet, or it runs in your family, you’re more likely to develop hypertension.
If you have high blood pressure you may suffer from headaches, shortness of breath, or dizziness. If your doctor diagnoses you with hypertension he’ll almost certainly put you on prescription medication.
What is Systolic Pressure?
The first number in a blood pressure reading is the systolic pressure. This is the pressure exerted on the walls of the blood vessels when the heart is beating. It is considered the more important of the two readings.
What is Diastolic Pressure?
The second number in a blood pressure reading is the diastolic pressure. This is the pressure exerted on the walls of the blood vessels when the heart is resting. It important, but considered less so than the systolic.
What is Normal Blood Pressure?
The numbers in the blood pressure reading signify the amount of pressure necessary to raise a column of liquid mercury by one millimeter when the temperature is 0 degrees Celsius, thus the reading nomenclature of “mm Hg” where Hg is the atomic symbol for the element mercury.
- Normal: Less than 120 over 80 (120/80)
- Elevated: 120-129 over 80 or lower
- Stage 1 high blood pressure: 130-139 over 80-89
- Stage 2 high blood pressure: 140 and above over 90 and above
- Hypertension crisis: higher than 180 over 120 or higher
Can Turmeric Treat High Blood Pressure?
While turmeric may not reduce highly elevated blood pressure to perfection, it can move it in the right direction. According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, curcumin exerts an antihypertensive effect by down-regulating the AT1 receptor in vascular smooth muscle cells. This allows the blood vessels to relax, the blood to flow more freely, and your blood pressure to decline.
Helps Fight Inflammation
Turmeric is most widely known for its ability to reduce inflammation in all parts of the body. It is believed that high blood pressure can be partially due to inflammation within the blood vessels walls and therefore turmeric can be effective in reducing hypertension in this manner.
May Aid in Weight Loss and Thereby Reduce Blood Pressure
Finally, supplementing or incorporating turmeric into your diet may help you lose weight. Turmeric tea is especially known for aiding in quelling hunger pangs and assisting in calorie reduction. For some, turmeric may cause a slight stomach irritation at first, but this usually subsides.
Turmeric is known to stimulate the production of bile by the gall bladder which aids in digestion. Nutrient optimization occurs when digestion is optimized. More nutrients entering the bloodstream means less craving for food to satisfy the body’s nutritional needs. By simply losing a few pounds you lower the workload on your heart and naturally help reduce blood pressure.
Other Tips Regarding Turmeric and High Blood Pressure
A few other important things to know regarding turmeric and high blood pressure:
Turmeric is not a substitute for medical treatment, especially if you are already on blood pressure medication.
If so, ease into the use of turmeric gradually and, after you have incorporated extensive daily use, ask your doctor about gradually easing off the meds as a test. But do not do so without your physician’s oversight and do not stop taking your medicine abruptly.
Turmeric may interact negatively with your medicine, so you’ll need to check with your doctor to see if it is safe for you to take.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel like the turmeric is working right away, as it may take a few months for it to be effective.
Summary – Turmeric and High Blood Pressure
It may also be able to sort out the problem itself by relaxing the blood vessels enough for them to regulate their own pressure. Additionally, it’s easy to incorporate into your diet and it works rather quickly.