One-third of all adults in the United States have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, and fewer than half of these individuals have it under control.
High blood pressure can harm your health seriously without any prior symptoms.
According to Colin A. Craft, MD, a physician at Penn Heart and Vascular Center Washington Square, “when your blood pressure is too high for too long, it puts you at risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, or aneurysm formation.”
Good news! You can naturally lower your blood pressure by making lifestyle changes.
How to Naturally Lower Blood Pressure
Regular exercise improves health
It goes without saying that engaging in regular physical activity keeps you healthy. Exercise not only lowers blood pressure, but also helps you maintain a healthy weight, build a stronger heart, and reduce stress.
Dr. Craft advises trying to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking.
While walking, jogging, dancing, and other aerobic activities are all beneficial for heart health, try to find an activity you enjoy. This will encourage you to get up and move around more and make it simpler for you to stick to a routine.
Eat less salt
Most people consume excessive amounts of salt without realizing it. The average American eats about 3,400 mg of sodium every day. The recommended daily intake is 2,300 mg, however the Most people consume excessive amounts of salt without realizing it. The average American eats about 3,400 mg of sodium every day. The recommended daily intake is 2,300 mg; however, the ideal daily limit is less than 1,500 mg; especially for people with high blood pressure.
“Even a small reduction in sodium in your diet can help improve the health of your heart and can lower your blood pressure if you have hypertension,” says Dr. Craft.
Increase your intake of potassium
In addition to regulating heart rate, potassium can lessen the negative effects of sodium on the body.
According to Dr. Craft, potassium helps the body eliminate sodium and reduces tension in the blood vessel walls, both of which contribute to a reduction in blood pressure.
The best way to get more potassium in your diet is through dietary changes rather than supplementation.
Foods high in potassium include:
- fruits such as tomatoes, bananas, melons, oranges, apricots, and melons
- yogurt, milk, and cream cheese
- potatoes, sweet potatoes, and leafy green vegetables
- Salmon and tilapia
- seeds and nuts
While including these foods in your diet can help your heart, it’s crucial to discuss the appropriate potassium intake with your doctor. Additionally, you should avoid consuming too much potassium if you have severe kidney disease because your kidneys might not be able to eliminate it.
Consume Alcohol in Moderation
According to some studies, moderate alcohol consumption is good for your heart. However, drinking too much alcohol at once can suddenly raise your blood pressure.
Monitoring alcohol consumption is crucial. Alcoholic beverages can have significant calorie and sugar content, which can contribute to weight gain and increased body fat, both of which over time can raise blood pressure, according to Dr. Craft.
If you do drink, the American Heart Association advises men to consume no more than two drinks per day and women to consume no more than one drink per day. One drink equals one 12-ounce bottle of beer, four-ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits, or one ounce of 100-proof spirits.
You should exercise extra caution when drinking if you are currently taking medication to lower your blood pressure.
Dr. Craft explains that alcohol can lessen the effectiveness of blood pressure medications in addition to having an impact on your blood pressure.
Everyday stressors like a flat tire in the middle of rush hour or an impending deadline at work can temporarily raise blood pressure. Your heart rate and blood pressure typically return to normal once the stressful situation has passed.
Chronic stress, however, may increase your risk for a number of long-term health conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. If you use unhealthy eating, drinking, or smoking as coping mechanisms for stress, your blood pressure may also rise.
Even though it’s impossible to completely eliminate stress from your life, finding healthier ways to deal with stress can have a positive effect on your health and wellbeing, which can then lower your blood pressure.
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It’s crucial to keep in mind that if you have chronic hypertension, your treatment may involve making healthy lifestyle changes like these in addition to receiving the care and medications that your doctor has recommended. For specific guidance on lowering your blood pressure, consult your doctor.