High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it may show no unusual day-to-day symptoms. If left uncontrolled, it boosts the chances of heart attack and stroke. But the good news is that you can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease naturally, without using medicines. Lifestyle changes are effective in preventing and treating your high blood pressure.
Here are 10 effective ways to lower your high blood pressure without medicines:
1. Stay physically active and exercise regularly
Regular physical activity, even as simple as walking, can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels. Great amount of physical activity makes your heart stronger and improves the heart’s ability to pump blood, which lowers the pressure in your arteries. Not only does regular exercise helps control high blood pressure, it also helps you manage your cholesterol levels, weight, lower your stress level and strengthen your heart.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running, per week to lower blood pressure and improve your heart health. Try a combination of aerobic exercise (such as walking, jogging, cycling or swimming), resistance training, high-intensity interval training or walking 8,000-10,000 steps a day. Try to find something you enjoy doing, it will help you to commit to a regular routine and motivate you to get up and moving.
2. Lose extra pounds
Blood pressure often rises as weight increases. So, weight loss is one of the most effective ways of lowering your blood pressure. Losing even 5% of your body weight can significantly help reduce your blood pressure. Various studies have shown a direct relationship between blood pressure and body mass index. A weight reduction of about 10 kg can likely reduce the systolic blood pressure by 5 to 20 mmHg.
3. Limit sodium intake
There is strong evidence that even a small reduction in sodium intake can improve your heart health and reduce blood pressure. The recommended daily intake of sodium is 2300 mg, with an optimal limit of less than 1500 mg, for people with high blood pressure. Look for low-sodium alternatives to the foods and beverages you normally buy. Swap out processed foods with fresh ones and try seasoning with herbs and spices rather than salt to add flavor to your food.
Be a smart shopper and make sure you read food labels for high sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol before buying. Try to stick to your healthy diet plan when you’re dining out, too.
4. Include more potassium in your diet
Not only does potassium help regulate blood pressure, but it can also nullify the effects of sodium in your system and ease pressure on your blood vessels. However, patients with significant kidney disease should restrict the amount of potassium.
Foods that are particularly high in potassium include dairy, such as milk and yogurt; tuna and salmon; vegetables, especially leafy greens, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes; fruit, including melons, bananas, avocados, oranges, and apricots; dried fruits, nuts , and seeds.
5. Limit alcohol consumption and quit smoking
You may have read that alcohol consumption in moderation can be beneficial for your heart. However, heavy alcohol consumption can cause a sudden spike in your blood pressure. Stay mindful of your alcohol intake.
Moderate drinking is up to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. A standard drink is one 12 ounces of regular beer, 4 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
Each cigarette you smoke causes a temporary increase in your blood pressure. The chemicals in tobacco increase your blood pressure by damaging your blood vessels, causing inflammation, and constricting your arteries.
It is advisable to quit these lethal practices in order to stay healthy.
Not sure if you are taking enough care of your health? Book a comprehensive health checkup right away.
6. Cut back on caffeine
Several studies revealed that the amount of caffeine in one or two cups of coffee raises both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. But the effect is temporary. It lasts 1 to 2 hours and the reaction varies from individual to individual. People who don’t consume caffeine regularly may be more sensitive to caffeine than those who drink caffeinated coffee and tea. If you’re caffeine-sensitive, you may want to cut back on your coffee consumption or switch to decaffeinated coffee as it has the same flavor without the side effects.
7. Chocolate fan? Indulge in dark chocolate
Eating one to two squares of dark chocolate per day may help lower your blood pressure. But look for the dark chocolate bar that has a cocoa content of 70% or higher. Various studies have shown that cocoa consumption is associated with about 2 mm Hg lowering of both systolic and diastolic BP. Hence, eating small amounts of dark chocolate or cocoa products can be beneficial and this benefit is thought to come from the chemical compounds in the cocoa products called flavonoids. The flavonoids help dilate, or relax your blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.
8. Try these healthful herbs
Some herbs such as parsley, basil, celery seeds, garlic, thyme, ginger root, and cinnamon have been shown to possibly lower blood pressure by relaxing blood arteries and lowering cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins. These herbs are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C.
Always consult your doctor before taking these herbal supplements.
9. Find ways to manage stress
Finding ways to manage your stress is important for your health and blood pressure. When you are stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can raise your heart rate and constrict blood vessels and can lead to temporary spikes in your blood pressure. Stress can also result in poor sleep, overeating, and misusing drugs and alcohol.
There are lots of different ways that can help in mitigating stress, so find what works for you. Practices like meditation, yoga, deep breathing can help keep you manage your stress hormones and blood pressure.
Try to carve out time for things that bring you happiness. Whether that’s chilling out with friends, spending time with loved ones, eating a good meal, reading a book, watching a comedy or listening to soothing music, find some time to embrace small moments of enjoyment throughout the day.
These nine ways can help you to lower your blood pressure and give you a healthy head start in life. But it is important to note that if you have prolonged high blood pressure; your treatment may require both healthy lifestyle changes like these, along with medications as prescribed by your physician.