Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
People who have hypertension often need several types of medication to control their blood pressure. However, simply making a few lifestyle adjustments can greatly lower or even eliminate the need for blood pressure medication. Please note that it is important for you to consult with your doctor before stopping any prescribed medication. Check out seven easy and natural ways to lower your blood pressure without using medication.
A lot of people have sedentary jobs and long commutes that force extended periods of sitting. Lack of physical activity can have adverse effects on your health including maintaining low blood pressure. However, if you stay active by exercising at least 30 minutes a day, 4 to 5 days a week you can significantly lower your blood pressure. Research has shown that regular physical exercise makes your heart stronger, which can effectively pump more blood with less effort. Studies have also shown that regular exercise can be just as good as taking blood pressure medication. If you want to stay active regularly, pick an activity that you enjoy such as walking, running, swimming, or biking and make it a part of your weekly routine.
Cut Back on Sodium
A surprising effect in blood sugar spikes is the amount of sodium you eat. Whether you have a normal blood pressure of full-blown hypertension, cutting back on your salt intake can substantially reduce blood pressure levels. The recommended amount of salt that people with hypertension should intake is less than 1500 milligrams (about 600 milligrams of sodium) a day. A lot of sodium comes from processed foods so it is best to stick to whole fruits and vegetables as the main part of your diet. When you do eat foods with nutritional labels, be sure to check the sodium content and keep it under the recommended daily amount.
Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Research has shown that losing just a few pounds can have a huge effect on your blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association weight loss reduces the strain on your heart, which will reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and damage to your blood vessels. Excess weight makes your heart work harder, and even losing 5 to 10 pounds can lighten your cardiovascular workload. One key guideline for losing weight is to try to eat less and stay active often.
Cutting back on alcohol is important for overall health and can be especially beneficial for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Moderate drinking (no more than one drink a day for women and two a day for men) can have positive heart health benefits, but drinking too much can elevate blood pressure in certain people. Consuming more than two drinks every day increases the risk of hypertension in people, regardless of gender. If you don’t want to cut out drinking altogether, try drinking your alcoholic beverage with a food to minimize the effect on blood pressure.
Smokers are the most at risk of hypertension, not to mention a myriad of other health problems. Tobacco and nicotine in cigarettes can cause temporary spikes in blood pressure. Smoking has also been a proven risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk for the buildup of fatty substances inside the arteries- which is accelerated by high blood pressure. For overall health benefits and for lowering blood pressure, try to quit smoking and avoid all forms of tobacco.
Stress management is often an overlooked tool in preventing and treating blood pressure. However, it is one of the easiest and most important. If you find that you are often tense and on edge try different strategies to reduce your stress. One example would be to learn relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Research has shown that yogic breathing exercises reduce blood pressure through the autonomic nervous system. You can also try nurturing yourself with a massage or a day at the spa when you are feeling stressed out. The important thing is that you feel good and you commit to whatever stress-reduction techniques that work for you.
Drink Less Caffeine
Although some people can’t imagine giving up their daily Cup of Joe, it may be beneficial for you to reduce how much caffeine you drink if you want to monitor your blood pressure. Caffeine can cause short-term spikes in blood pressure even in people without hypertension. If you have high blood pressure it may be a good idea to reduce your caffeine intake to about two cups of coffee per day. To check if you are prone to caffeine’s blood pressure-boosting effects, check your blood pressure before and after you drink a caffeinated beverage. If your levels spike 5 to 10 points, you are probably sensitive to caffeine and should consider reducing your intake.
Reference: Health Guide