There may be no cure for hypertension, because it is not an illness – it is a symptom of what is happenining with our body just like our pulse rate or temperature. There are, however, things we sufferers can do to manage our condition effectively. One simple step we can take is to ensure that we drink sufficient water, for there is a link between our high blood pressure and the amount of water we drink each day.
Water is the natural cleanser for our bodies. That means it is the most effective way of flushing toxins out of our bodies. Whilst those toxins do not directly cause our hypertension, they can contribute to it by causing to other conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, which often goes hand in hand with our condition.
In addition, drinking plenty of water each day helps to eliminate excess levels of sodium. We need some salt in our diet. However, our modern Western diet is high in processed foods, fat and salt. We are consuming far too much sodium without even realizing it. The effect of this is to skyrocket our blood pressure to levels that would be dangerously high if they were to be maintained. Yet, by the nature of our diet and modern sedentary lifestyle, that is exactly what we are doing. Drinking adequate amounts of water each day helps to flush out the excess sodium through our kidneys and lower our high blood pressure.
Keeping our bodies properly hydrated is important for our overall health. It helps our bodies to function more efficiently. One advantage of proper hydration is that it helps to keep our blood vessels elastic. Our hearts need to pump blood at higher pressures when our blood vessels lose their elasticity. Our blood vessels lose their elasticity as we grow older, which is one reason why older people tend to have higher blood pressure than do younger people. Drinking plenty of water can help alleviate this.
An indirect benefit of drinking plenty of water is that it makes us feel fuller for longer. This can be a useful aid to a healthy diet as it reduces the temptation to eat between meals and can contribute towards weight loss. As high blood pressure is often associated with obesity, losing weight is beneficial to our condition.
There is another beneficial side effect of drinking adequate amounts of water each day. That is, the more water we drink, the more we need to pass water. Our bodies try to maintain a natural balance. Part of which is balancing the volume of blood in our bodies, thus helping to maintain normal levels of blood pressure. In a way, drinking plenty of water is a natural diuretic, but without some of the side effects.
What, then, is an adequate amount of water? It is easy to become over enthusiastic and treat this method of managing our condition as a panacea. It is not and there are health risks in drinking too much water too quickly. Most doctors and dieticians agree that our bodies need about two litres 1 2 of water a day to function efficiently. Of that amount, about a fifth will come from our food.
We should aim to drink between six and eight glasses 3 4of cold water spaced out throughout the day. That will keep us properly hydrated. If we drink too much water or drink too much too quickly, while increasing the elimination of salt and water from our bodies, we may also be robbing ourselves of valuable minerals such as potassium and magnesium. This can leave us weak and confused. It is best to drink the water by taking small sips.
Do liquids other than water count?
Water, milk, sugar-free drinks and tea and coffee all count, but remember that caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee can make the body produce urine more quickly. Fruit juice and smoothies also count, but because they contain ‘free’ sugars (the type we are encouraged to cut back on), it is recommended that we limit these to a combined total of 150ml per day.
Many of the foods we eat contribute to our fluid intake – for example, dishes like soup, ice cream and jelly, as well as fruit and vegetables with a high water content, such as melon, courgette or cucumber.
Drinking an adequate amount of water each day may not be a panacea, but it is a very effective and simple way of helping us to manage our hypertension.
Reducing our hypertension does not necessarily mean that we have to take drugs to normalize our high blood pressure readings. Natural methods to reduce our hypertension can be just as effective and, in some cases, more so.5