If you are researching how to lower your blood pressure naturally, there are ways and means to do that that have been researched and proven effective. People with high blood pressure who can make healthy lifestyle changes and manage their stress can often cut back on their meds and the associated side effects that come with them.
These changes you can make are not surprising and are good tips to follow for everyone, even if you just want to live a healthier life.
Most people in first-world countries face a 90 percent chance of developing high blood pressure at some point in their lives. This is dangerous as while it causes no symptoms, it is one of the leading causes of death from heart attacks and strokes as well as aneurysms.
High blood pressure is also associated with cognitive decline and kidney failure.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Your blood pressure reading is always two numbers, one over the other, and this gauges the force that your circulating blood exerts against the walls of your blood vessels. Systolic pressure, the top number in a reading, indicates the pressure as your heart beats or contracts. The bottom number, your diastolic reading, indicates the pressure between contractions.
You have high blood pressure when you have a systolic blood pressure of 130 millimeters of mercury (mm/Hg) or higher and diastolic blood pressure of 85 mm/Hg or higher or 130/85.
Most experts agree that your optimal pressure is 120/80 or lower, as low as you can go without fainting when you stand up.
The good news is that no matter your readings, just a tiny drop in blood pressure of 2mm/Hg, could reduce strokes by 14% and heart disease by 6%, potentially saving 70 000 lives a year.
Are You At Risk?
An estimated one in four American adults has high blood pressure. That’s more of us than have high cholesterol. Why so many?
In some cases, there are medical problems such as kidney disease or narrowing of the arteries, but in most cases, it’s not clear what is to blame. Certain risk factors however seem to boost your odds of developing high blood pressure including:
- Excess Weight
- Age – as you get older you are more likely to develop high blood pressure
- Ethnicity – high blood pressure is particularly common among African-Americans
- Family History
How To Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally
Exercise helps to lower your blood pressure in a number of ways. It helps you to shed excess weight and manage stress for one.
Regular aerobic exercise also strengthens your heart so it can pump blood more efficiently. This in turn lowers your resting heart rate, which is helpful as a slower heart rate translates into lower blood pressure.
Regular aerobic workouts also help make your blood vessels more flexible, so they give more when your heart pumps blood, and this also translates to lower blood pressure.
It is recommended to do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity like walking, jogging or cycling at least five days a week. Believe it or not, moderate intensity exercise appears to lower blood pressure as much as vigorous exercise (Deborah Young, Ph.D. University of Maryland).
Carry Less Weight
When it comes to blood pressure the most important lifestyle factor to consider is your weight. For some reason almost everybody who loses weight brings their blood pressure down. So concentrate on keeping your weight down, exercising more, and eating less.
Do The DASH Diet
By incorporating little fat, cholesterol, red meat, or sweets, but lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat or fat free dairy products, this diet takes its name from the comprehensive ‘Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension study. This diet was tested and although weight loss was not significant, the subjects all lowered their blood pressure after following this diet for two weeks.
Let’s take a closer look at this diet in this infographic:
You can find a complete plan of this diet at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.
If you are trying to lose weight, take the lower number of servings on the chart.
A serving size consists of:
1 slice of bread
1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta or cereal
1 cup of milk or yogurt
1 medium fruit
1 cup of salad or 1/2 cup of cooked veggies
1/3 cup of nuts
1 Tbsp seeds
1/2 cup cooked dry beans
1 tsp margarine
1 Tbsp mayonaise
Shake Off The Sodium
To get even better results cut back on your salt. Since there is no way to tell if an individual is sodium-sensitive or not, everyone should lower his sodium intake.
Try to season your food with spices and herbs or lemon and salt-free seasoning blends. Watch for sodium in your processed foods, as most of the sodium in your diet comes from processed foods.
No More Than One Or Two Drinks
The less alcohol you drink, the lower your blood pressure will drop to a point.
A study of women at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, for example, found that light drinking, defined as one-quarter to one-half a drink per day for a woman, may actually reduce blood pressure more than no drinks per day.
Other studies have found that moderate drinking of up to one drink a day for a woman and two for a man can lower the risk of heart disease. High levels of alcohol are detrimental, but moderate alcohol is protective of the heart, so if you are going to drink make it moderate.
Drink Less Coffee
Caffeine can raise blood pressure by tightening blood vessels and magnifying the effects of stress. When you are under stress, your heart starts pumping a lot more blood, boosting blood pressure and caffeine exaggerates the effect. So if you can’t do without your morning cup and you suffer from high blood pressure, change to the decaf version.
Eat More Potassium
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have discovered that high potassium consumption may lower or even help prevent high blood pressure.
Good sources of potassium include:
Baked potato with the skin
Dried apricots and peaches
Learn to Chill
Meditation and other relaxation techniques such as yoga and tai chi can help lower blood pressure significantly.
So make sure to get your choice of destressing in as often as you can.
So now that you have discovered some new ways how to lower your blood pressure naturally, do not on my account go off all your medication. Always consult with your doctor first, but these tips will work along side any medication too.