High blood pressure is tricky, especially because if left untreated, it can lead to heart diseases and strokes. After all, blood pressure is known to damage the heart.
While taking medication is a necessity for some people, there are a few things you can do to naturally control your blood pressure.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to work out regularly. Not only does this help reduce high blood pressure, but it also works wonders for your energy levels throughout the day! The National Walker’s Health Study also proves that regular exercise helps control high blood pressure.
Exercising every day strengthens your heart, allowing it to pump blood more efficiently. This helps reduce pressure in your arteries. All you need to do is work out moderately for 150 minutes a day. This can include walking or 75 minutes of high-intensity workouts, such as running to improve heart health.
2. Lower Sodium Intake
We can’t deny that salt is an essential part of any meal. That is why all over the world, salt intake is at its peak. Of course, processed and prepared foods have a higher usage of salt.
There are numerous studies that prove that high blood pressure and weak heart health are caused by consuming loads of sodium. However, it must be kept in mind that people’s bodies process sodium differently. While some people have blood pressure, others with normal levels are just sensitive to sodium.
If you suffer from high blood pressure, it is time to replace processed foods with fresh ones. Instead of salt, season with herbs and spices.
3. Lower Alcohol Intake
Not only is alcohol terrible for the skin, but it is also bad for your heart. Sixteen percent of high blood pressure cases all over the world have been linked to alcohol. Even though some research suggests that low-to-moderate amounts of alcohol may have a good impact on heart health, it is better to be careful.
For most people, alcohol causes breathlessness, panting, and bloating. If you are someone who consumes more than a drink a day, it is time to cut back and change your routine.
4. More Consumption of Potassium-Rich Foods
Potassium is one of the most important minerals needed by the body. Do you know why? It helps the body flush out sodium, reducing pressure on the blood vessels. However, diets today have increased the intake of sodium while reducing potassium intake.
If you want a trouble-free way of increasing potassium intake, all you need to do is swap out processed food and start focusing on more fresh, whole foods. Here is a list of food items that are high in potassium and will strengthen your heart:
- Vegetables, including leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
- Fresh fruit, such as melon, bananas, avocado, orange, and apricots.
- Dairy – milk, and yogurt.
- Fish, including tuna and salmon.
- Nuts and seeds.
5. Lower Caffeine Intake
If you’ve ever had a shot of espresso right before having your blood pressure measured, you would know that caffeine causes an instant boost. Even if caffeine affects your energy and concentration levels for a few hours, studies show that it does not have a lasting effect on your body.
If you consume caffeine every day, the chances are that it can lower your risk for heart disease, as well as high blood pressure. This can include coffee, as well as caffeinated tea. However, if you think that you are sensitive to caffeine, try to cut back and see if it has any effect on your blood pressure level.
If you see that caffeine is causing a short-term spike in your levels of blood pressure, don’t worry. It does not have a lasting increase for most people.
6. Manage Stress
One of the key factors that drive blood pressure is stress. If you are always stressed or anxious, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. This affects your body as a faster pulse means increased heart rate, leading to constricted blood vessels.
Moreover, chronic stress can lead to unhealthy patterns of behavior, including consumption of unhealthy, processed food or intake of alcohol. These behaviors can increase blood pressure significantly.
In case you feel stressed out, take steps to calm yourself down. Not only will this help you feel better, but it will also reduce high blood pressure. You can:
- Listen to some soothing music that helps calm your nervous system down.
- Take more “me time” as sometimes, work can get extremely stressful.
7. Eat Bits of Dark Chocolate
Looking for an easy way out? This is it- all you need to do is introduce small amounts of dark chocolate into your diet.
Studies prove that dark chocolate and cocoa powder are full of flavonoids. These are plant compounds that help dilate blood vessels. Moreover, these studies show that flavonoid-rich cocoa is great for heart health, especially to reduce blood pressure.
If you are serious about getting behind this advice, look for non-alkalized cocoa powder. This has no added sugars and is full of flavonoids.
8. Shed Weight
Overweight or obese people are more likely to have heart problems. A study conducted in 2016 showed that by losing 5 percent of body mass, you could reduce your blood pressure significantly. Studies also show that losing 8 kilograms reduces 8.5 mm Hg systolic blood pressure while reducing diastolic blood pressure by 6.5 mm Hg.
This means that paired with regular exercise; weight loss can be great for your heart. When you lose weight, the blood vessels in your body can expand and contract, allowing the left ventricle of the heart to pump blood. This will help reduce blood pressure and make you healthy again.
Staying healthy, maintaining heart health, and lowering blood pressure is a lifestyle. Remember to stay consistent and patient- there will be some bad days, but as long as you remain committed, you can achieve your goals.