Natural Ways to Lower High Blood Pressure
Statistics suggest that around 45 percent of adults in the US has high blood pressure. Unfortunately, half of the people with hypertension are undiagnosed. But this silent killer is a significant risk factor for stroke and heart attacks. Therefore, you should regularly measure your blood pressure to ensure it is within the healthy range. Fortunately, hypertension is manageable even without medication. Some of the natural ways to lower your blood pressure include:
Change Your Diet
A healthy eating plan can lower your blood pressure significantly. For instance, the DASH diet emphasizes eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meat. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber that helps to remove cholesterol from your bloodstream. Besides, some fruits are rich in potassium, which lowers blood pressure. Small amounts of dark chocolate and berries are also good for your blood pressure. Chocolate contains flavonoids that aid in dilating blood vessels, while berries contain polyphenols, which can lower your blood pressure.
Regular exercise is good for your heart and for managing hypertension. Even walking thirty minutes a day can improve heart health and lower your blood pressure significantly. Apart from aerobic exercises, strength training can also make your heart strong and healthy. Working out improves the efficiency of your heart in pumping blood, which lowers the pressure in your arteries.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity is a risk factor for hypertension, especially when combined with sleep apnea. Luckily, losing even a few pounds makes a significant difference in your blood pressure readings. For every kilogram you lose, your blood pressure drops by one mmHg. Shedding off weight reduces fat surrounding the blood vessels allowing them to expand and contract easily.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Studies have found that chronic stress causes a spike in blood pressure due to the constricted blood vessels and a faster heart rate. Stress can also drive you to unhealthy behaviors like junk food, smoking, or alcohol, all of which increase your blood pressure. You can learn to manage stress through meditation and yoga, exercising, or listening to soothing music.
Avoid Smoking and Alcohol Intake
Every puff of a cigarette elevates your blood pressure temporarily. Besides, the chemicals in the cigarette damage your blood vessels and increase your chances of heart disease. If you have hypertension, quit smoking to lower your blood pressure readings to normal.
Alcohol can also reduce or increase your blood pressure levels, depending on your consumption rates. Drinking low amounts of alcohol can lower your blood pressure, but excessive consumption can be detrimental to your blood pressure levels. Besides, alcohol reduces the effectiveness of hypertension medications.
Cut Back Sodium Intake and Consume More Potassium
Sodium intake raises your blood pressure levels significantly. Therefore, even a small reduction makes a major difference. You can reduce sodium levels by minimizing salt intake in food. Instead of using salt, you can use herbs and spices to season food. You should tread with caution around processed and packaged food. Read labels for sodium levels and find low-sodium alternatives. Boosting potassium intake can also reduce the effects of sodium and lower your blood pressure. Fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt, and nuts are excellent sources of potassium. However, you can use supplements to increase potassium intake too.
Work With a Doctor to Manage Your Hypertension
Before making lifestyle changes to lower your blood pressure, work with a doctor and develop a plan that suits your needs. Your doctor will help you decide if the lifestyle changes are working and alert you to potential health complications. You need to take blood pressure readings frequently, and your doctor can recommend the best strategies to manage hypertension. Your doctor can also recommend joining a support group for emotional support and morale boost as you make the lifestyle changes.
High blood pressure requires immediate lifestyle changes. Apart from the natural ways of managing the condition, you can also seek medication. However, combining medicine with lifestyle changes can provide a sustainable solution to hypertension.