High blood pressure is known as a silent killer for a good reason. Also referred to as hypertension, this condition is dangerous and can expose you to an increased risk heart disease and stroke. The good news is that there are things you can do to lower the risk without medication.
Lower your Salt Intake and Increase your Potassium Intake
The recommended daily intake of salt is 2,300 mg, with a limit of not more than 1,500 mg for people with hypertension. Reducing your salt intake even by a small margin and increasing your potassium consumption can boost your heart health and lower your blood pressure. Potassium lessens the effects of sodium in the blood and eases tension in the vessels.
Foods that are rich in potassium include fish, milk, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables. This is what you can do to reduce your salt intake:
- Consume less processed foods: In food, only a small amount of sodium occurs naturally. About 80 percent of sodium comes from packaged, processed, or restaurant food.
- Read Labels: Purchase low sodium food and beverage versions.
- Avoid adding salt: One teaspoon of salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium. It is advisable to use salt substitutes, including garlic, spices, or herbs for seasoning.
In many studies, salt has been linked to high blood pressure and stroke. If you already have hypertension, cut back on salt, and monitor the difference.
Exercise is one of the most highly rated methods for combatting hypertension. Exercising regularly strengthens the heart and makes it more efficient at pumping blood. In turn, the blood pressure in the arteries reduces.
According to NHS recommendations, adults should try to engage in 150 minutes of moderate exercise (such as walking) or 75 minutes vigorous exercise (such as running or swimming) each week. Because there is a considerable margin between the level of exercise and the degree to which the blood pressure is lowered, you might want to engage in more activity.
Note that a beneficial response can only occur with aerobics. Do not enroll in any exercise program before consulting your healthcare provider.
Shed Some Pounds
If you are already overweight, lose at least 10 pounds to facilitate healthier blood pressure levels. This is what experts recommend:
- Load up fruits and vegetables
- Skip foods high in saturated fats
- Consume more whole grains and avoid processed foods
- Limit your alcohol intake
Overweight people also tend to have problems with sleep apnea, which can raise blood pressure and cause an irregular heartbeat. Keep monitoring the readings regularly and try to stay in your target range.
Cut Back on Refined Carbs and Sugar
Scientists say that putting a restriction on refined carbs and sugars can lower blood pressure. In a 2010 survey, a low-fat diet and a low carb diet were compared. Although they both produced positive results in lowering blood pressure, the low carb diet was more effective. Both these diets keep the body feeling fuller for longer because they are loaded with plenty of good fats and protein.
Smoking increases the heart rate and raises blood pressure temporarily. Persistent smoking increases blood pressure as a result of the chemicals present in tobacco, and this can damage the blood vessel walls, leading to narrow arteries and inflammation.
This effect causes the arteries to harden, which then raises the blood pressureblood pressure further. The chemicals present in tobacco can affect your blood vessels if you are always around someone who smokes, even if you don’t smoke yourself.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol, when drunk in moderation, can lower the blood pressure by around 4 mmHg. This protective effect is, however, lost when you drink beyond the recommended limits. When consumed in large amounts, alcohol can lead to hypertension and can reduce the effectiveness of medication used for the illness.
Reduce your Stress Levels
Chronic stress leads to hypertension. Occasional stress can also contribute to raised blood pressure if you react by consuming too much alcohol, smoking, or eating unhealthy food. Determine the cause of your stress and look for ways to eliminate or cope with it. There are many ways to relieve stress successfully, such as walking, listening to music, reading, taking a deep breath, among others, so find one that works for you.
While high blood pressure is still a top killer around the world, there are many lifestyle changes you can embrace to ensure that yours stays at healthy levels. Although there is no cure for the disease, using medication as advised by your doctor, and practicing these natural methods will prevent any serious damage to your health.