How to lower your blood pressure
Majority of people in economically developing countries have blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal. In fact, there are millions of people around the world who are struggling with high blood pressure.
High blood pressure has contributed to so many deaths around the world and with it not causing any symptoms, it boosts the risks of the major killers such as heart attack and stroke, cognitive decline and kidney failure.
Being diagnosed with high blood pressure can be so worrying especially when it comes to taking medication to bring it down. Lifestyle plays a very key role when it comes to the treatment of high blood pressure since you can successfully be able to lower your blood pressure if you choose to live a healthy lifestyle, hence avoiding the need for medication.
Here are some of the effective ways of lowering your blood pressure:
Increase your activity level and exercise regularly
Sedentary older adults who take part in aerobic exercise training lower their blood pressure by an average of 3.9% systolic to 4.5% diastolic, which is as good as any other medications. When you exercise regularly, you hear and breathing rates increase which makes your heart get stronger enabling it to pump blood with less effort. Consequently, there will be less pressure on your arteries which lowers your blood pressure.
It is advised that taking part in a moderate-to-high intensity physical activity of three to four sessions of 40 minutes every week can help lower your blood pressure. You don't have to run marathons, simply increase your level of activity gradually, like maybe walking instead of driving, gardening, riding a bike, or playing a sport.
Some of the exercise combinations that can help lower your blood pressure include:
- Resistance training.
- Aerobic exercise.
- Interval training of high intensity.
- Shorts spurts of exercise.
- Walking 10,000 steps every day.
Eat less sodium and increase potassium intake
A small reduction in sodium in the diet and increasing potassium intake helps lower your blood pressure. Effect of sodium intake varies among groups but it's so important to limit sodium intake for people with greater salt sensitivity including those aged 51 years or older and those diagnosed with high blood pressure, kidney disease or diabetes.
To decrease sodium in your diet, consider the following things:
You should read food labels and possibly choose foods and beverages with low sodium.
Eat fewer processed foods, since only a very small amount of sodium occurs naturally in foods, most of it is added during processing. Therefore, avoid chips, pretzels and salted nuts. But if you do purchase prepared foods, look for those with low salt.
Not adding table salt to your food. This includes reducing the amount of salt you use when you are cooking. Do not add salt to meat and to the water when you cook rice.
Potassium lessens the effect of salt in your system and reduces tension in your blood vessels. It's so easy to increase potassium intake because so many foods are rich in potassium.
The following are some of the foods high in potassium:
- Dairy foods like milk and yogurt.
- Vegetables like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach.
- Fruits like oranges and bananas.
We live in very stressful times where we have to meet certain demands like work, family and even politics. When you are so pressed by those demands, they contribute to your stress.
This kind of stress can either be chronic or occasional, but then how you react to it can directly affect your blood pressure. Chronic stress leads to high blood pressure while occasional stress can also contribute to this if you react to stress by smoking, eating unhealthy foods and drinking alcohol.
It's very important to find ways on how to reduce your stress in order to lower your blood pressure. Relieving stress starts with discovering what triggers your stress and those things that help you to relax.
Some of the relaxation inducers are:
- Practicing deep breathing.
- Taking a walk.
- Listening to relaxing music.
- Watching a comedy.
- Music, regular sauna, and acupuncture have successfully been used as a therapy for lowering blood pressure.
You can't eliminate all the stressors but you can cope with them in a healthier way by trying to:
- Change your expectations.
- Recognize your stress triggers.
- Think about problems that you can control then come up with a plan to deal with them.
- Find time to relax.
- Appreciate others.
Reduce your caffeine consumption
Even though there is a debate on the role that caffeine plays in blood pressure, consuming a lot of caffeine can increase your blood pressure. The effect of caffeine on blood pressure in habitual coffee drinkers is so little.
The effects of chronic caffeine intake on blood pressure are not so clear, but then there is a slight increase in blood pressure. Some people may be so sensitive to caffeine. It's important to try reducing your caffeine intake if you are so sensitive to caffeine in order to lower your blood pressure. If you really need to take a coffee you can try the decaffeinated coffee.
There is a lot of research on caffeine which also includes its health benefits, but then one of the studies indicates that the effect of caffeine on raising your blood pressure depends on if your blood pressure is already high.
Make sure you get good sleep
Your blood pressure decreases when you are sleeping. If you don't sleep well, you will affect your blood pressure. People who get disturbed while sleeping, particularly the middle-aged, have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure.
It's not easy for some people to get a good sleep, but there are many ways to help you to sleep well and thus enabling you to lower your blood pressure.
You can try the following things in order to get some good sleep:
- Setting a regular sleep pattern.
- Avoiding sleeping during the day.
- Taking part in an exercise during the day.
Making your bedroom comfortable.
It was found out that sleeping less than 7 hours and more than 8 hours a night was associated with increased prevalence of high blood pressure. Furthermore, having a sleep of six hours a night leads to increased risk of high blood pressure, therefore it's very important to have enough rest in order to lower your blood pressure.
Try medicinal herbs
Herb medicines have been used in many different cultures to treat a number of diseases. Among the herbs, some of them have the ability to lower your blood pressure. But before using them it's advisable to ensure that you check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist because this herbal supplements can interfere with your prescribed medications.
The following is a list of some of the herbs which have an effect in lowering your blood pressure:
- Cats claw (Uncaria rhynchophylla)
- Black bean (Castanospernum Australia)
- Celery juice (Apium graveolens)
- Coffee weed (Cassia occidentalis)
- Chinese hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida)
- Indian Plantago (Blond psyllium)
- Giant dodder (Cucuta reflex)
- Maritime pine bark (Pinus pinaster)
Reducing consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates
Many scientific research and studies have shown that reducing the consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates can help lower your blood pressure.
In a certain study low-carb and low-fat diets were compared. The low-fat diet included a diet drug. There was a weight loss noted as a result of the low-fat diet while the low-carb diet succeeded in lowering blood pressure. The low-carb diet decreased blood pressure by 4.5-5.9 mmHg. When both diets were combined, they lowered the blood pressure by only 0.4-1.5 mmHg.
From an analysis of 17 studies of low-carb diets and heart disease risk, it was found that these diets led to a lower blood pressure by an average of 3.10-4.81 mmHg.
Consuming low-carb diet makes you fuller because you are consuming more protein and fat, and this will also lower your risk for other diseases like diabetes.
Drink less alcohol
Drinking alcohol can raise your blood pressure even if you are healthy. Drinking alcohol moderately, up to one drink for women and two for men is said to have beneficial effects on blood pressure. If you drink more than that it will just do the opposite. Alcohol not only increases your blood pressure but also it increases your risk for other chronic issues.
This is not just a concern for adults or for people who have already developed high blood pressure. It is for everyone including young people who regularly, on short space of time consume too much alcohol thereby developing prehypertension than there moderately drinking peers. This condition can progress to full-blown hypertension.
Eat fruits and vegetables that lower blood pressure
Fruits and vegetables are very necessary for any meal but then they also have a notable beneficial effect on lowering your blood pressure. Some of the fruits and vegetables that you can incorporate into your everyday meals to lower your blood pressure include:
Kiwis: It was discovered that eating three kiwis a day for up to eight weeks can dramatically lower your blood pressure. They are very high in an antioxidant known as lutein.
Watermelons: Enjoying a slice of watermelon can help lower your blood pressure. They contain fiber, lycopene, vitamin A, potassium and other amino acid called l-arginine which help in lowering blood pressure.
Variety of potassium-rich fruits and vegetables.
Eating dark chocolate
Chocolates are very rich in nutrients known as flavanols. They help blood vessels to dilate hence lowering blood pressure.
Chocolates help in many forms but the dark chocolate help and pure cacao have high concentrations of nutrients than milk chocolates and that makes them better choices for helping lower your blood pressure.
Some studies indicate that consumption of dark chocolate can reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
Eat lean meat, poultry, and fish in moderation
People who eat more protein have a lower risk of developing high blood pressure. Meats and fish are excellent sources of proteins, vitamins and other nutrients such as iron and zinc. However, some of these kinds of proteins contain a lot of fat and cholesterol, and since they can clog your arteries it's advisable that you don't take too much of them. You should not eat more than six servings per day.
You should avoid fatty red meats and if you eat them to make sure that you get rid of the fat as much as you can. Don't fry the meats when cooking them. The best way is to just grill, bake, or roast them.
Salmon, herring, and tuna are not only very rich in protein but they also provide Omega -3 fatty acids which help in controlling your cholesterol level in blood and hence lowering your blood pressure.
When you carry around extra weight it makes your heart to work extra harder all the time which leads to an increase in blood pressure. Imagine cumbersome it is walking around with an extra 20 pounds. That would be same as carrying a load of 20 pounds, and then try walking around with it on your back. Within a matter of time, your heart will start to beat faster while trying to work harder to meet the demands for the extra weight on your back, you will run out of breath and eventually get tired.
Finally, you will want to put that bag down and have a rest.
It's so hard for your body to keep carrying around extra weight, but unfortunately, many people are carrying around a lot more than just 20 pounds. It's important that you lose the extra weight so that your heart can start to beat normally and thus lowering your blood pressure.