High blood pressure is a dangerous condition that can cause significant damage to your heart. It is also called hypertension. According to the CDC, it affects at least one in three adults in the U.S. and about 1 billion individuals across the globe. It generally has no apparent symptoms, but it is the main cause of heart attacks and strokes. These cardiovascular diseases contribute to over 15 percent of deaths in the U.S. The good news about hypertension is that a few lifestyle changes can substantially bring your blood pressure numbers down and reduce your risk without using medications. Below are 10 pragmatic tips for lowering your blood pressure levels.
- 1. Increase Your Physical Activity
- 2. Lower Your Refined Carbohydrates Intake
- 3. Lower your Alcohol Intake
- 4. Include more Potassium-rich Foods in Your Diet
- 5. Avoid Excess Stress
- 6. Quit Smoking
- 7. Try Meditation or Yoga
- 8. Get Plenty of Restful Sleep
- 9. Try Blood-Pressure-Lowering Supplements
- 10. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
1. Increase Your Physical Activity
Exercising regularly is one of the surest ways to combat hypertension. Increased physical activity and exercise are instrumental in strengthening your heart and making it effective at pumping blood which leads to reduced pressure in your arteries. Moderate exercises like walking for at least 10 minutes per day or vigorous exercises like running for 75 minutes a week can significantly boost your heart health.
2. Lower Your Refined Carbohydrates Intake
Numerous scientific studies reveal that cutting back on refined carbohydrates and sugar can help you shed some pounds and bring your blood pressure to a healthy level. In a 2010 study, researchers found out that low carb diets are more efficient in reducing blood pressure than low-fat diets. Low-carb, low-sugar regime makes you feel fuller for a longer duration since you are eating more protein and fat.
3. Lower your Alcohol Intake
Drinking alcohol increases your risk of hypertension. In fact, alcohol is believed to contribute to about 16 percent of hypertension cases across the globe. Although some research has stated that low-to-moderate volumes of alcohol may safeguard the heart, the negative effects outweigh those benefits. The definition of moderate alcohol intake in the U.S. is one drink per day for women and a maximum of two for men. If you can’t completely abstain from alcohol, limit your intake to the above-recommended parameters.
4. Include more Potassium-rich Foods in Your Diet
Potassium is an essential mineral. It assists your body in eliminating sodium and streamlines the flow of blood in your vessels. Modern diets have escalated most people’s sodium consumption while lowering potassium intake. To strike a perfect balance between your sodium and potassium intake, cut back on processed foods and concentrate on more fresh, whole foods. Examples of potassium-rich foods include vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, and leafy greens, dairies like yogurt and milk, nuts and seeds, and beans.
5. Avoid Excess Stress
The world is full of stress. Workplace and family pressures, national and global politics are all sources of stress. Coming up with strategies for lowering your stress is critical for the health of your heart and the entire body. There are many distinct ways of successfully alleviating stress. All you need is to identify what works for you perfectly. You can read a book, visit a friend, or practice deep breathing.
6. Quit Smoking
Smoking is a key risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Each puff of cigarette smoke triggers a minor, temporary rise in blood pressure. Tobacco contains chemicals that damage blood vessels. Astonishingly, researchers haven’t established a convincing connection between smoking and hypertension. Still, given that high blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, giving up smoking altogether can help reduce that risk.
7. Try Meditation or Yoga
Apart from lowering stress, meditation or yoga play an instrumental role in combatting high blood pressure. They are believed to trigger activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. Activation of this system occurs when the body is in a relaxed mode, decelerating the heart rate and reducing blood pressure. A 2012 study revealed that one Massachusetts’ program has had over 19,000 engage in a mediation program to alleviate stress.
8. Get Plenty of Restful Sleep
When you get decent, restful sleep, your blood pressure tends to drop. Lack of enough sleep can cause your pressure to skyrocket. Individuals who undergo sleep deprivation, particularly the middle-aged ones, have a high risk of hypertension. The best strategy for getting restful sleep is developing a consistent sleep schedule, working out during the day, avoiding daytime naps, and making your bedroom as comfortable as possible.
9. Try Blood-Pressure-Lowering Supplements
Supplements like fish oil, Whey protein, Magnesium, and Coenzyme Q10 have demonstrated a strong ability to lower blood pressure. Fish oil and magnesium supplements trigger a minor drop in blood pressure. Other than lowering BP levels, the Whey protein may have many health benefits. A couple of small studies have revealed that Coenzyme Q10 can lower systolic blood pressure by about 17 mm Hg and diastolic by a maximum of 10 mm Hg.
10. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
There is still a heated debate on how caffeine contributes to high blood pressure. Caffeine can increase blood pressure by nearly 10 mm Hg in individuals who rarely take it. However, individuals who consume coffee on a regular basis can experience minor or no change in their blood pressure. The effect of caffeine on blood pressure varies from one person to another. Some individuals may be more reactive to caffeine compared to others. If you realize that you are caffeine-sensitive, you should consider cutting back your coffee intake or try the decaffeinated coffee.
High blood pressure causes immense suffering in a large fraction of the world’s population. Although medications are one tactic for treating the ailment, there are numerous other helpful techniques out there. The above 10 tips will help you regulate your blood pressure and reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases.