10 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
Recently, there has been an upsurge in the number of people suffering from high blood pressure, which boosts the risks of leading killer diseases such as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.
Here are 10 tips to reduce your blood pressure
1. Reduce sodium intake
Cutting sodium means more than going easy on the salt shaker, which contributes just 15 per cent of the sodium in a diet. Watch for sodium in processed foods. Don’t add salt to your meals. When possible, season your food with spices, herbs, lemon, and salt-free seasoning blends. Purchase items with “No-Added Sodium.” Many canned goods and vegetables have sodium added to help them stay fresh longer.
2. Increase potassium intake
increasing your potassium intake can counter the effects of sodium. Top sources of potassium-rich produce to achieve low blood pressure include sweet potatoes, tomatoes, orange juice, potatoes, bananas, kidney beans, peas, cantaloupe, watermelon, and dried fruits such as prunes and raisins.
3. Breathe deeply
slow breathing and meditative practices such as qigong, yoga, and tai chi decreases stress hormones, which elevate renin, a kidney enzyme that raises blood pressure. Do it five minutes in the morning and at night for low blood pressure. Inhale deeply and expand your belly. Exhale and release all of your tension.
4. Walk, walk
A blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher indicates high blood pressure. Walking at a brisk pace lowers pressure by almost eight mmHg over six mmHg. Exercise helps the heart use oxygen more efficiently, so it doesn’t work as hard to pump blood. Get a vigorous cardio workout of at least 30 minutes on most days of the week for low blood pressure. Increase speed or distance, so you keep challenging your ticker.
5. Indulge in dark chocolate
Dark chocolate varieties contain flavanols that make blood vessels more elastic and increase the chances of low blood pressure. In one study, 18 per cent of patients who ate it every day saw blood pressure decrease. Have 14 grams daily, and make sure it contains at least 70 per cent cocoa.
6. Work (a bit) less
Putting in more than 41 hours per week at the office raises your risk of hypertension by 15 per cent according to one study. Doing overtime makes it hard to exercise and eat healthily. It may be difficult to clock out super-early in today’s tough economic times, but try to leave at a decent hour—so you can go to the gym or cook a healthy meal—as often as possible for low blood pressure.
7. Reduce your stress
Chronic stress is an important contributor to high blood pressure. Occasional stress can also contribute to high blood pressure if you react to stress by eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol or smoking. Take some time to think about what causes you to feel stressed, such as work, family, finances or illness. Once you know what’s causing your stress, consider how you can eliminate or reduce stress.
8. Cut back on caffeine
Although the effects of chronic caffeine ingestion on blood pressure aren’t clear, the possibility of a slight increase in blood pressure exists. To see if caffeine raises your blood pressure, check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a caffeinated beverage. If your blood pressure increases by 5 to 10 mm Hg, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine.
9. Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight for your body type helps keep your blood pressure in check. If you carry excess weight, losing it is, especially important for lowering blood pressure. Hypertension, when coupled with obesity, is dangerous to long-term health. Obesity can cause poor circulation, stress on the joints and bone structure, and stress to the heart. This can make high blood pressure symptoms worse.
10. Monitor your blood pressure at home and see your doctor regularly
Home monitoring can help you keep tabs on your blood pressure, make certain your lifestyle changes are working, and alert you to potential health complications. Regular visits with your doctor are also key to controlling your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is under control, you might need to visit your doctor only every six to 12 months, depending on other conditions you might have. If your blood pressure isn’t well-controlled, your doctor will likely want to see you more frequently.