Pill-Free Ways To Lower Your High Blood Pressure
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If you’ve been diagnosed with having high blood pressure, you may be reluctant to take medication to bring those numbers down because of potential side effects whether they’re short term or long term side effects. Medication always has an effect on your body and though it may help with one thing, it can have a negative effect on another. Though you may be reluctant to take medications, high blood pressure (hypertension) is a serious health problem. Over time, it causes blood vessel damage which can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and other problems.
Diet and lifestyle plays an important role in treating high blood pressure and there are numerous ways that you can reduce those numbers naturally. If you manage to control your blood pressure naturally through a healthy diet and lifestyle, you could avoid, delay or reduce your need for medication.
Eating Blueberries Everyday
Consuming blueberries every day may improve your high blood pressure as it increases the levels of certain chemicals in the body that open the capillaries, allowing for better blood circulation. One example of chemicals is nitric oxide to which measurements tend to be significantly higher in those who eat blueberries daily and this chemical helps maintain blood vessels elasticity and dilation of the blood vessels, thus reducing your blood pressure.
Research has shown that blueberries can reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, potentially better than pharmaceuticals can. However, this doesn’t mean that you should replace hypertension medications with blueberries as further research is needed into the long-term effects they have on blood pressure.
In the right dose, berries such as blueberries are among the healthiest fruits you can eat. They’re low in sugar, high in fibre and heart-healthy antioxidants to which past research has shown that women who ate more than here servings per week of blueberries and strawberries had a 32% lower risk of having a heart attack which is always a bonus.
Lose The Extra Weight
Often, Blood pressure increases as weight increases. Being overweight can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep and this can further raise your blood pressure. This makes weight loss one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure.
Eat A Healthy Diet
A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure significantly. Eating leafy greens that are high in potassium give you a better ratio of potassium to sodium which allows your kidneys to get rid of more sodium through your urine and thus, lowers your blood pressure. Be sure to check food labels as well when you’re shopping and try to stick to your healthy-eating plan when you’re dining out to ensure your intake of fat, sodium, and alcohol remains reduced so that you can keep your blood pressure down.
Eating foods that are rich in potassium such as bananas are better than taking supplements especially if the fruits and vegetables you’re eating are fresh as canned vegetables often have added sodium.
Participating in at least 30 minutes most days of the week of physical activity can lower your blood pressure. However, consistency is very important because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again.
If you only have slightly high blood pressure (known as prehypertension) exercise can help reduce your blood pressure and help you avoid developing full-blown hypertension. If you’re already suffering with hypertension, regular physical activity can reduce your blood pressure to a much safer level.
The best types of exercise to reduce blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming and/or dancing; though strength training has also been known to help.
Limitations On Alcohol
In small amounts, alcohol could potentially lower your blood pressure but that effect is lost if you drink too much. Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can significantly raise your blood pressure and it can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
Heavy drinkers who want to lower their blood pressure should reduce their intake of alcohol over one or two weeks. Heavy drinkers who stop suddenly risk developing severe high blood pressure for several days.
Keep in mind that alcohol contains calories and may contribute to unwanted weight gain which is another risk factor for high blood pressure.
Cut The Caffeine
Caffeine’s role in blood pressure is still under debate as it’s been found to increase the blood pressure in people who rarely consume it, but there is little to no strong effect on blood pressure in habitual coffee drinkers. Though the effects of chronic caffeine ingestion on blood pressure remains unclear, the possibility of a slight increase exists.
Reduce Your Stress
This is potentially one of the most important contributors to high blood pressure. Occasional stress can also contribute to high blood pressure depending on your own reaction in order to deal with that stress. If you result to eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol or smoking to deal with stress, it can have drastic contributions to hypertension.
The best thing you can do is take some time to think about what causes you to feel stressed and once you know what the cause is, consider how you can eliminate or reduce stress. If you can’t eliminate all of your stressors, you can at least cope with them in a healthier way:
- Give yourself some time to get things done and learn to say no and to live within manageable limits. Learn how to pace yourself and accept things that you can’t change.
- What problems are under your control and how could you solve them?
- Avoid whatever triggers your stress.
- Take 15-20 minutes a day to sit quietly and breathe deeply, allow yourself sometime to relax. Try to intentionally enjoy what you do rather than hurrying through your “relaxing activities” at a stressful pace. Maybe even consider burning some essential oils such as lavender or going for a massage to help you relax.
Dark Chocolate And Cocoa
It’s been found that dark chocolate and cocoa reduce systolic blood pressure. The effects of cocoa stem from the fact that it’s rich in many different phytochemicals, including procyanidins, theobromine, epicatechin and catechin. Look for dark chocolate bars with at least 70% cocoa content and eat one or two small squares per day and remember that the darker the chocolate, the higher the cocoa content and the more phytochemicals that you’ll be consuming.
With these tips in mind, you could reduce your blood pressure significantly and control it without the use of medications however it is always suggested to consult your doctor before attempting anything that could have a drastic effect on your help. Those that have been discussed in this article, could not only reduce your blood pressure but also help you live a happier, healthier life. They could also help you reduce the likelihood of you developing other conditions in the future such as heart disease and cancer.