09 August 2017
Seven Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common non-communicable disease. However, most of us do not realize that despite its prevalence, hypertension is a serious problem and should be taken seriously.
Hypertension is one of the main predictors and contributing factors to other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and vision loss. Heart disease and stroke have been the leading cause of death globally for the last 15 years and combined they account for approximately 25% of total deaths in the world each year. With hypertension being one of the main causes of these, it’s no wonder that it’s called the silent killer.
Unhealthy lifestyles and habits are the main triggers of hypertension. The good news is, by practicing healthy lifestyle habits it is possible to reduce the risk of getting high blood pressure and lower blood pressure that’s already become too high. Check out these eight ways to help reduce blood pressure without using drug prescriptions:
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining an ideal weight can help you control high blood pressure and reduce the risk of other health problems. According to Health.com, a reduction of between 3-5% of body weight can lower the risk of health problems. The more weight you lose, the more positive the effect on blood pressure, LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol) levels, and HDL (high-density lipoprotein or good cholesterol) cholesterol. Taking off a few pounds will make a big difference in treating high blood pressure.
2. Eat healthy foods
To help treat high blood pressure, you are encouraged to limit your intake of sodium, increase potassium (a good source is sweet potatoes, beans, or spinach), and eat heart-healthy foods. Limit your intake of processed foods, red meat, palm oil and foods containing it, and foods and beverages containing high amounts of sugar. Instead, choose vegetables, wheat, and other whole foods low in fat, cholesterol, and salt.
3. Consume heart-healthy food
Foods that are specifically good for the heart have been shown to help prevent high blood pressure which is one of the main triggers of heart attacks. These foods include whole wheat; fruits such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears and plums; vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and carrots; legumes such as kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans; non-fat or low fat dairy products such as skim milk; and fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon or tuna.
4. Break a sweat
If you want to lower your blood pressure, moderate-intensity exercise four to five times a week will help. Everyone should do mild aerobic exercise for at least 2 hours 30 minutes per week, or more intensive aerobics for at least 1 hour 15 minutes per week. Aerobic exercise can be as simple as a brisk walk that spurs your heart to work harder. This also causes your body to intake more oxygen than usual. The more you are active, the more benefits you receive.
5. Limit your salt
Most people who have high blood pressure eat too much salt, exceeding the recommended consumption limit. Lowering your consumption of sodium can help with your blood pressure. Try to pick low-sodium foods. It’s best to avoid processed meats, prepackaged meals, chips, and fast food in particular as most of these are high in salt. If you cook at home, reduce the amount of salt you add to your cooking and when eating at home or in a restaurant, don’t add extra table salt to your meals. Begin with small changes and build up towards something you can tolerate long term.
6. Stop smoking & Limit Alcohol
Smoking is considered to double your risk for heart disease. Smoking also causes long-term damage to the blood vessels, so not only increases the risk of hypertension, but can also lead to problems such as stroke, heart disease, and heart attacks. Nicotine, which is contained in tobacco, can prompt the nervous system to release chemicals that constrict blood vessels and contribute to hypertension.
Along with smoking, drinking alcohol is also known to raise blood pressure levels.
Having around three drinks in one sitting is enough to temporarily increase your blood pressure, but repeated drinking can lead to long-term increases. So, if you have high blood pressure, the simple way to improve your problem is to avoid alcohol or drink only in moderation.
7. Manage your stress
De-stressing can improve your physical and emotional health and lower your blood pressure. Stress has been proven to wreak havoc on the human body in numerous ways. Therefore, you must learn to manage stress in order to relax. Proven and popular ways to manage stress include becoming more physically active, listening to music, taking up a new hobby, and practicing yoga, tai chi, or meditation.