Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure? If yes, then you may be concerned about taking medication to bring your blood pressure numbers down.
The good news is that you can successfully bring your high blood pressure (hypertension) down through some simple lifestyle changes and natural remedies. Controlling hypertension naturally can delay or even eliminate the need for medication.
While high blood pressure is asymptomatic, it can heighten the risks associated with diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms and kidney disorders. According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of all American adults are at risk for significant health problems due to high blood pressure.
Fortunately, you can successfully bring down your blood pressure with the simple, natural remedies and lifestyle changes enlisted here.
Start Walking and Trim your Waistline
Blood pressure is closely related to weight gain. Being overweight also increases the risk for disorders such as sleep apnea which can further raise your blood pressure.
The easiest way to control your blood pressure is through weight management. Trying to incorporate a daily walk regimen in your lifestyle could lower your blood pressure significantly.
A rigorous 30-minute walk every day could help you control hypertension. In fact, studies indicate that losing as little as 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure and reduce the strain on your body.
So don’t wait to set aside a 30-minute walk session to keep your blood pressure under control with the added benefit of losing weight, and looking great.
Control Your Salt Intake
Certain groups of people such as American Africans, the elderly and people with a family history of high blood pressure are at an increased risk for salt sensitivity.
Sodium, which is a component of salt, is the real culprit in causing high blood pressure in individuals who may be salt sensitive.
While there is no way to determine salt sensitivity, everyone should lower their salt intake according to Dr. Norman Kaplan. In fact, Dr. Kaplan suggests that antihypertensive medication also works better with lower salt intake and that there is a direct link between sodium intake and high blood pressure.
Lowering salt consumption is an easy lifestyle change that can help you control your hypertension and increase the efficacy of high blood pressure medication.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol can both help and aggravate your high blood pressure depending on the amount that you consume. If consumed in smaller amounts, alcohol can reduce your blood pressure by 2 mm Hg to 4 mm Hg.
However, this benefit is lost if you drink too much. Moderate drinking has been defined as one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Drinking more than recommended amounts of liquor can increase your blood pressure by multiple points. So go ahead and enjoy that glass of wine or beer, but be sure to restrict it to the recommended amounts.
Go Cold Turkey on Smoking
You probably already know that smoking is bad for you. However, smoking is also a contributing factor to high blood pressure.
Nicotine found in cigarette smoke raises blood pressure and narrows arteries which can lead to heart attack and stroke due to increased pressure on the heart. If you want to control your blood pressure, this is a necessary lifestyle change.
So drop that cigarette today, and see the blood pressure points go down rapidly!
Manage Stress and Anxiety
Chronic stress is a significant factor leading to and exacerbating high blood pressure. While chronic stress contributes to hypertension, even occasional stress can cause high blood pressure through creating anxiety related unhealthy eating, alcohol consumption and smoking.
Meditative practices and breathing exercises are a great way to manage stress. These methods help reduce stress hormones that cause an increase in the level of renin (a kidney enzyme) that leads to a rise in blood pressure.
It is imperative that you take some time out for reflection and introspection to identify the stressors in your life and create a plan to eliminate (or reduce) these factors.
Switch Your Coffee with Tea
While caffeine’s contribution to high blood pressure is debatable, it is known to raise blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg in people who consume it sparingly. Caffeine does not raise blood pressure in people who have it regularly.
Even if you are a coffee lover who has many cups every day, you may want to ensure that you are not sensitive to caffeine for high blood pressure.
It is advisable to check your blood pressure 30 minutes after having a cup of coffee. You can also try switching to decaf coffee to avoid the possibility of caffeine interfering with your blood pressure.
Tea, on the other hand, is an excellent alternative to coffee. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consumption of black tea has shown significant improvements in blood pressure levels.
This improvement has been attributed to the flavonoid content in black tea.
(Try to) Clock Out Early
According to a study by the University of California, Irvine, working more than 41 hours a week can increase your high blood pressure risks.
In fact, it is believed that the stress of extended working hours can lead to biological changes in the body which can cause many illnesses including hypertension.
It may not always be possible to leave from work at a decent hour, especially in today’s economic climate. However, you can strive to end your workday on time on some days at least.
A long and stressful workday can contribute to worsening your high blood pressure condition.
Keep an Eye on Your Blood Pressure at Home
It is essential to monitor your blood pressure at home to ensure that your lifestyle changes are, in fact, working. Also, it is important to be alerted to any significant increase in your blood pressure levels which can warrant a visit to your doctor.
Blood pressure monitoring devices are readily available at various places, and you don’t need a prescription to purchase one. However, it is still advisable to consult with your doctor on monitoring your blood pressure at home.
Regular doctor visits are vital to keeping your blood pressure in check, and keeping tabs on your hypertension at home can alert you to any emergency doctor visit needs.
Eat Dark Chocolate or Cocoa
There is a silver lining to controlling high blood pressure-dark chocolate or cocoa! This does not mean to say that you can consume massive amounts of dark chocolate or cocoa, but a small amount can help to control your hypertension levels.
Studies indicate that the consumption of dark chocolate or cocoa (which are rich in flavonoids), can improve several markers of heart health including lower blood pressure levels. Now, you won’t have to feel guilty while reaching out for that bar of chocolate!
Cut Back on Added Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates
A clear link between a low glycemic index load diet and blood pressure levels has been established. According to a study, a reduction in the glycemic index by ten units decreased blood pressure by up to 1.3 mmHg.
This essentially means that cutting back on consumption of beverages such as sodas or chips can significantly reduce your high blood pressure levels. You can substitute these foods in your diet with blood pressure lowering foods such as garlic, hibiscus tea, melons, etc.
You can also watch this video to understand more about foods that can help you to lower your blood pressure levels naturally. Many of the foods featured in this video have been proven to control hypertension.
Take Natural Supplements
Some studies indicate that coenzyme Q10 successfully lowered blood pressure levels by up to 17 mm Hg over 10 mm Hg.
More supplements that can help reduce hypertension are aged garlic extract, berberine, whey protein, fish oil, and hibiscus.
In fact, these natural supplements are a safe way to control your blood pressure naturally. You can start by slowly incorporating these into your diet regimen to gradually normalize hypertension.
Ensure that you have a Support System
While the above tips are a great way to control your blood pressure naturally, it is essential to have a robust support system comprising of family and friends.
People who care about you can help you make these positive lifestyle changes and encourage you to continue when you falter.
You can also consider joining a support group to associate with people who are going through hypertension. Engaging with a support group can even give you a better understanding of managing your lifestyle to control your blood pressure levels.
The above lifestyle changes will help you to control your high blood pressure levels. Many of these changes will have a beneficial effect on your overall health besides managing your hypertension.
These slight modifications to your routine can go a long way in ensuring protection against high blood pressure and related diseases.
You do not need to incorporate all these changes simultaneously-choose the ones that work best for you presently, and gradually build up to a healthier lifestyle.
Remember-controlling high blood pressure naturally is not as hard as you think! It can be done with small yet significant changes in your lifestyle and eating habits.