High blood pressure or hypertension is rightly called the “silent killer” and one of the common health issues these days. It has no clear symptoms but poses a major risk of a heart attack. And these cardiac diseases are a major reason why most people die in the United States.
Blood pressure means how much blood your heart is pumping and how much resistance is to its flow in the arteries. Narrow arteries offer increased resistance to blood flow, thereby leading to higher blood pressure.
Hypertension can be easily be treated by making a few lifestyle changes and without taking medication.
7 Simple Tips to Lower Blood Pressure
Some best and easy tips that can help your lower blood pressure are the following:
If you are overweight, losing only a few pounds could dramatically reduce blood pressure levels. Not only does it help reduce hypertension, but it also lowers the risk of other diseases that are prominent in obese individuals.
The best way to start is to shed weight slowly with the right balance of eating and exercising. On a weight loss journey, you should:
- Skip foods high in saturated fat
- Eat different varieties of fruits and veggies
- Stay away from processed and canned food
- Limit the intake of alcohol
- Reduce consumption of caffeine
Most of the extra salt (or sodium) in your diet comes from processed foods such as canned food, deli meats, pizza, burger, chips, and much more. Cutting down on processed food items would reduce your intake of salt, sugar, and refined carbohydrates. As a result, you will be eating a diet that is right for your weight loss goal.
Increase Physical Activity
Exercise is the heart and soul of any weight loss program. You’re more likely to lose weight if you exercise and indulge in physical activities, especially targeting the cardiovascular region.
As you exercise, your heart rate increases, and over time, your heart gets stronger and can easily pump blood. This reduces the pressure on your arteries and lowers blood pressure. The key here is to develop a habit of exercising moderately for half an hour each day. And you don’t have to lift weights or run marathons. Increasing physical activity can be as simple as:
- Using stairs instead of elevators.
- Walking instead of driving
- Playing a sport
Drink More Water
Dehydration has been linked to high blood pressure due to an action of a hormone called vasopressin. When the body gets dehydrated, it attempts to secure its fluids by retaining sodium. When there’s a high amount of sodium in the blood, this hormone causes blood vessels to constrict. This action leads to an increase in blood pressure.
It is important to drink the right amount of water each day. It is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day to stay adequately hydrated and flush out harmful toxins from the body. Water filters deliver a fresh and clean supply of drinking water on the go that is free from any contaminants.
It is also critical not to overdo it as it can add stress to kidneys making them work harder and eventually weaken them.
What you eat determines whether your blood pressure falls or rises. It’s important to adopt specific eating patterns that lower blood pressure rather than individual foods.
A program called DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) was created specifically to manage & lower blood pressure levels without medication.
It emphasizes eating a plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products. The basic rules are to stay away from food rich in salt, processed food, caffeine, and alcohol. The diet also recommends eating a variety of foods rich in nutrients that lower blood pressure, such as calcium and magnesium.
It suggests cutting on red meats, sugar, and excessively sweet foods while encouraging to eat lean meat such as fish and chicken.
Our bodies react to stress by releasing hormones such as adrenaline which can quickly raise the heartbeat causing blood pressure levels to rise. Various studies have found that relaxing the mind can help lower blood pressure.
Mind-body and breathing exercises such as meditation, yoga, and tai-chi help muscles to relax and keep stress-inducing hormones in check. Start with 5 minutes of these relaxing exercises in the morning and evening. It is important to take adequate sleep which will increase your energy levels.
Determine your priorities and set realistic goals for yourself. Don’t try too much work at once.
Take regular breaks and indulge in something you like doing. You might want to consider pursuing a hobby, walking, or enjoying the beauty of nature. Anything you like!
Many experts also suggest talking regularly with your friends and family as it helps to lighten the mood.
I have personally found music to be my stress-buster. Whenever I feel stressed, I turn to soothing music, leaving everything aside. This works like a charm for me.
The decision to quit smoking is the single most important step you can take to live longer and reduce cardiac disease and stroke chances. The nicotine present in cigarette raises the blood pressure, narrows your arteries, and builds a plaque around their walls.
After you quit smoking, you will immediately witness dramatic results. You will start feeling more healthier and energetic. Not to mention, you’ll prevent several other diseases such as lung infections and cancer that are caused by cigarette smoke.
Reduce Caffeine Intake
Caffeine can cause a short but sudden rise in blood pressure levels. It’s not clear what causes this spike. People who drink caffeinated beverages regularly have a higher average blood pressure than those who don’t consume them.
It is normal to consume tea or coffee as part of your diet and ensure they are not your primary fluid source.
If you are a coffee lover and drink more than 4 cups of your favorite cuppa every day, you might want to consider cutting it down. You may try new variants of coffee that are decaffeinated and notice if it makes any difference.
While medication is one way of treating hypertension, you should always start by making changes to your lifestyle and adopting natural techniques to manage blood pressure.
When practiced correctly, all these simple measures prove effective to lower hypertension and help you to lead a healthy lifestyle.