A lot of people are aware that hypertension is a serious health concern, and most know that it can lead to hypertension-related complications like strokes and heart attacks. However, many people don’t know what they can do in their everyday life to lower their blood pressure, including changing the way they live their life — such as regular exercise or quitting smoking. Read on for some helpful tips!
You will learn that reducing stress levels through smoking cessation and getting more sleep are essential for reducing blood pressure. On top of all this, alcohol consumption should always be avoided due to its role in increasing one’s chance of having a stroke or heart attack.
What foods help lower your blood pressure?
The best way to lower your blood pressure is to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, including:
- dark green leafy vegetables including spinach, kale and collard greens
- watermelon and cucumbers
- red peppers (including chili peppers) and tomatoes (which are also rich in lycopene) are also great for lowering your blood pressure. Consider adding these foods into your meals for an added benefit! A diet rich in protein is beneficial as well, as this helps maintain a healthy glycogen level that stimulates the production of renin (a hormone that controls the excretion of sodium from the kidneys). But make sure the foods you choose are high in heart-healthy fats like those from nuts, seeds, meat and fish!
Another way to lower your blood pressure is to reduce sodium intake. Sodium is an essential nutrient that aids in the regulation of blood pressure. However, if you consume too much, your body will retain it and it will end up building up in your bloodstream. The result is fluid retention, increasing your risk of hypertension. To prevent this, try eliminating salt from your diet while cooking or eating. Instead, switch to spices or herbs when possible! You should also include natural sources of potassium in your diet.
This mineral is essential to the normal functioning of your body. It helps maintain necessary levels of electrolytes like sodium, potassium and calcium as well as other minerals in your body. A diet high in potassium can help lower blood pressure, particularly when it has been high for a long time. Your kidneys cannot synthesize potassium, so you have to get it from your diet. Foods rich in potassium include avocados, bananas, cantaloupe, oranges, and potatoes.
Other important ways to lower your blood pressure?
1) Raise your level of physical activity:
Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. Exercises you can choose from include aerobic exercises (cycling on a stationary bike, walking, swimming laps), strength training (using light weights) and combined exercises (running and swimming). Combine other forms of physical activity in your routine — such as walking at lunchtime, taking the stairs at work, going dancing with your friends… Try to get creative! Any form of physical activity is beneficial, especially if you do it for 30 minutes or longer.
2) Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke:
Smoking is associated with increased risk for heart disease and stroke. It also increases the risk of developing and dying from several cancers. Quitting smoking can decrease your risk of heart attack or stroke by 50% within 1 to 9 years after quitting. In addition, quitting smoking gives you a chance to lower your blood pressure in a healthy manner.
3) Limit alcohol consumption:
In small amounts, alcoholic beverages can actually reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. However, this benefit is offset by the negative effects of alcohol consumption on high blood pressure. In addition to increasing blood pressure, alcohol consumption impairs your body’s ability to regulate your heartbeat properly. Heavy drinkers are at greater risk for stroke, heart disease, and irregular heartbeats.
4) Get plenty of sleep:
Lack of sleep is associated with increased risk for heart disease, hypertension and premature death. Studies have shown that short sleep duration increases the likelihood of hypertension and stroke by 72% and 40%, respectively. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, try limiting your caffeine intake – this may help you fall asleep quicker.
These are a few ways to change your lifestyle to prevent high blood pressure. Remember that each step counts — so don’t be discouraged if you aren’t able to do everything at once! Keep following the 5 steps whenever you can! You’ll soon find that your blood pressure is coming down.
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