4 Simple Ways to Naturally Lower Blood Pressure

4 Simple Ways to Naturally Lower Blood Pressure

You get it checked at least twice a year and when the doctor reads the numbers back to you, the only thing you are looking to hear is, “Blood pressure looks normal.” For many of us, there will come a day when the doctor will pause a moment longer and will not follow up with his usual response.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 67 million Americans have high blood pressure. That is one out of every three adults! Being at risk or having hypertension can greatly impact how you live your life to the point where a simple pill will not be the magic cure-all you wish it to be. There’s no reason why you have to become a statistic. By making a few simple and natural changes in your life, you can avoid hypertension. You may even drastically improve your current quality of life. Let’s review what you can do to make a difference.

GET OUT AND EXERCISE

Chances are, you hear it enough from your doctor, spouse, and media, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Exercise plays a critical role in helping to lower your blood pressure and avoid medication. If you are currently taking medication for high blood pressure, exercise can boost the effectiveness of it and, eventually, help bring you off. You don’t have to jump right into a 7-day workout program packed with running, weight lifting, and boxing. Start at your own pace, and do what you are physically capable of performing. The Center for Disease Control recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week or 75 minutes of high intensity physical activity per week. This can include brisk walking, swimming, jogging, weight lifting, or your favorite cardio class. (1)

STRIVE TO EAT A HEALTHY DIET

With the fast-paced lifestyle that many of us live, eating a healthy diet may be easier said than done. If you wake up early, work all day, and get home late, it is likely that you are relying on fast food or processed foods as your main source of nutrition. Loaded with saturated and trans fats and high sodium while lacking vital vitamins and minerals, this type of diet is only fueling hypertension. When it comes to your health, you need to take that extra step and make time to prepare simple meals to take on the go. You can follow a very convenient and easy-to-understand dietary guideline known as DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The focus of DASH is eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains while limiting your overall fat intake, especially saturated fats such as red meat. (2)

CONTROL YOUR STRESS LEVELS

Stress is toxic for your body. Once upon a time, when we were walking on all fours and living off the land, stress was a very useful thing. When we get scared or angry, stress releases epinephrine, which is famously known as the “fight or flight hormone.” It revs up your blood pressure, putting your heart in overdrive to supply your muscles and brain with the blood and oxygen it needs to do some fast, critical thinking. Problem is, this same fight or flight mechanism is being activated every single day for hours at a time. Whether it is in traffic, at work, or at home, as a society, we are placing too much stress upon ourselves. Over the long term, this constant spike in epinephrine on a daily basis can cause havoc in your body, including hypertension. In order to avoid this, you need to take control of your body and your stress levels. Activities such as yoga and guided meditation can help you to relax and be mindful of your present surroundings. Over time, consistent practice of yoga or meditation has been shown to result in lower blood pressure levels. (5)

DITCH (OR DRASTICALLY REDUCE) THE BAD HABITS

No one likes a lecture, especially when it comes to our habits. When the test results come back saying that you are at risk for hypertension, it’s time to start listening. Some of your favorite dietary or lifestyle habits may be causing a great deal of harm to your body in ways that may have been invisible until seeing your doctor.

Caffeine

Caffeine is the most used drug on the globe. It is that necessary element that helps people start their days and keep going well into the evening. If you are at risk for hypertension, caffeine is just going to make matters worse. Studies show that regular caffeine ingestion increases the risk for hypertension. If you love the taste of coffee, then make the switch to decaffeinated coffee. If the jolt is what you are addicted to, try other natural remedies to combat fatigue such as B-Vitamins, green tea, and apple cider vinegar. (3)

Smoking

If there is one bad habit that has been under a constant attack from the media for decades, it’s smoking. Engaging in smoking cigarettes has been proven to have a direct correlation to different types of illnesses including cancer and cardiovascular disease. It has also been shown to increase your blood pressure. For those are at risk or currently have hypertension, smoking is one habit you want to drop as soon as you can. Join a support group, try over-the-counter remedies, and keep in mind the long-term repercussions of smoking cigarettes. (6)

Drinking

Enjoying your favorite beer, wine, or cocktail can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, research has shown that red wine and small brewed beers have a positive impact on your health, especially heart and brain health. On the other, when taken to excess, which is defined by more than two drinks per day, drinking will cause an increase in your blood pressure. If you are planning to drink, keep your head about you. Make sure you limit yourself to no more than two drinks; ideally just one. Make smart choices too. Opt for an antioxidant-packed glass of red wine or a small and locally brewed craft beer, which contains helpful phytonutrients. (4)

 


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