High blood pressure can be a scary and uncertain condition and many health practitioners suggest long-term drugs to control it. However, if you don't want to commit to drugs, here's how you can lower your blood pressure and get healthy, the natural way.
If you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure or are on the cusp of developing it, you might be worried about taking medication to lower your numbers.
You must know that lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.
Here are 7 lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure for good.
1. Lose weight and drop some inches
Blood pressure tends to increase as weight increases and being overweight also can cause breathing issues which can raise your blood pressure even further.
Weight loss is the best lifestyle changes in the fight to control blood pressure. Losing even a small amount of weight if you're overweight or obese can help reduce your blood pressure significantly.
As well as being overweight, carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure so if you want to get those numbers down, shed those inches.
2. Start excersising often
Regular exercise, a minimum of 150 minutes a week or 30 minutes a day can lower your blood pressure significantly. In order to see results, you have to remain consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again.
If you have elevated blood pressure, exercise can help you avoid developing hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.
Some examples of aerobic exercise you may try to lower blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing.
3. Eat healthy
Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure.
Here are some tips that will ease you into eating a healthy diet:
- Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat, even for just a week, can shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor what you eat, how much, when and why.
- Consider boosting potassium. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements. Talk to your doctor about the potassium level that's best for you.
- Be a smart shopper. Read food labels when you shop and stick to your healthy-eating plan when you're dining out, too.
4. Reduce your salt intake
Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can improve your heart health and reduce blood pressure.
To effectively cut down on your sodium intake:
- Read food labels. If possible, choose low-sodium alternatives of the foods and beverages you normally buy.
- Eat fewer processed foods. Only a small amount of sodium occurs naturally in foods. Most sodium is added during processing.
- Don't add salt. Just 1 level teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium. Use herbs or spices to add flavor to your food.
5. Drink less alcohol
Drinking alcohol only in moderation can potentially lower your blood pressure. But that protective layer is lost if you drink too much alcohol.
Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points and it can also interfere with the efficacy of blood pressure medications.
6. Stop smoking
Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Stopping smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal.
Stopping smoking altogether greatly reduces your risk of heart disease and is better for your health in general.
7. Cut out the caffeine
Caffeine can raise blood pressure in people who rarely consume it however, regular coffee drinkers may experience little or no effect on their blood pressure.
To see if caffeine raises your blood pressure, check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a caffeinated drink. If it does, it may be time to cut back on caffeine for good.