High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is known as a “silent killer” for valid reasons. It does not show symptoms promptly, yet it poses a risk for heart problems and stroke. And these problems are the main reasons for the death of an individual, worldwide.
In the USA alone, one in every three people is diagnosed with hypertension. Blood pressure, that’s measured in mm of Hg (Millimeters of Mercury) is categorized into two types:
- Systolic BP – Top number denotes blood pressure when the heartbeats
- Diastolic BP – Bottom number denotes blood pressure when the heart is at rest
The blood pressure is dependent on the amount of blood the heart is pumping to the resistance your arteries show in the blood flow. The narrower the arteries are, the higher the blood pressure.
Normal Blood Pressure: 120/80 mm of Hg
Anything above the normal mark is considered as ‘Elevated Blood Pressure’ and is considered as a risk of developing hypertension. But there is good news – Eating habits and lifestyle changes can cure high blood pressure without medication. Below are 15 ways you can lower blood pressure without using the medicine.
1. Exercise More and physical activity
In a study conducted in 2013, older adults who voluntarily participated in an aerobic exercise training were reported to lower their hypertension approximately 3.9% systolic and 4.5% diastolic. This result is proof of curing hypertension without the use of medicine. Red about the evidence here.
Reason – With physical activity, the breathing rate increases and eventually, it takes the heart some less effort in pumping the blood. This results in less pressure on arteries, eventually lowering blood pressure.
How much physical activity to keep blood pressure in check? You might ask. That’s a valid question. A report of 2013 by ACC (American College of Cardiology) and the AHA (American Health Association) suggests a minimum of rigorous 40-minute physical activity, at least three or four times in a week. The evidence for this is listed here.
Do I need to run marathons? Of course not. You can instead do the following –
- Use the stairs instead of an elevator
- Walk more, drive less
- Participate in an outdoor team sport
- Intermittent jogging and walking combination
At least 30 minutes of strenuous activity will do the trick.
2. Overweight? You need to lose weight.
A very simple solution to hypertension for overweight people is to lose weight and come to the normal weight category. If you come into this category, you know that you have to put in extra effort physically to shed the extra fat. You can also make use of diet plans and change your eating habits to lower your weight.
According to a 2016 study, it is reported that diets that make you lose weight helped in reducing hypertension by at least 4.2/3.2 mm of Hg (systolic/diastolic).
3. Decrease Sugar Intake
Scientific studies have proved that sugar intake and consumption of refined carbohydrates helps one to lose weight and lower hypertension.
Alternatively, a low carb diet reduces hypertension by 4.5/5.9 mm of Hg and a low-fat diet reduces hypertension by 0.4/1.5 mm of Hg.
If you consume a low carb diet, you might feel full longer due to the consumption of protein and fat.
4. Increase Potassium Intake and Less Sodium
Increasing your potassium intake and curtailing on salt can lower your hypertension.
Potassium is indeed a winner: It lessens the ill effects of salt in your biological system and also eases tension in your blood vessels. However, diets rich in potassium could be harmful to individuals with kidney disease, so consult your doctor before increasing your potassium intake.
It’s easy to consume a potassium-rich diet — Some foods are naturally high in potassium. Here are a few:
- low-fat dairy foods, like milk and yogurt
- fruits, like bananas, apricots, avocados, and oranges
- vegetables, like sweet potatoes, potatoes, tomatoes, greens, and spinach
Please note that different individuals react to salt differently. Some people are salt-sensitive, which means, a better salt intake increases their hypertension. Others are less reactive to salt. they will have a high salt intake and excrete it in their urine without raising their hypertension.
The (NIH) National Institutes of Health recommends reducing salt intake using the (Dietary Approaches to prevent Hypertension) DASH diet. The DASH diet focuses on:
- Sodium deficient foods
- Fruits, vegetables, and fiber-rich diet
- low-fat dairy
- grains (whole)
- fewer sweets
5. Reduce the consumption of processed foods
Unnecessary salt in your diet directly comes from processed foods and foods from restaurants, and not your salt shaker back home. Popular high-salt items include soup sold in cans, restaurant baked pizza, salty chips, and various processed snacks.
Foods that carry the “low-fat” sign usually contain high salt and sugar to make up for the loss of fat. Fat is the taste element in food and causes you to feel full.
Cutting down on — or perhaps better, abandoning processed food will assist you to eat less salt, less sugar, and fewer refined carbohydrates. All of this will end in a lower pressure level.
Please develop a habit to examine labels. Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the sodium content of 5% or less on a food label is generally low, while 20% or more is generally high.
On a side note, you can see how pineapples lower hypertension in this article.
6. Smoking Kills
Yes, you read that right. Smoking is depleting you internally like a silent killer and you may not even notice until it’s too late.
It increases your blood pressure temporarily, but repeated occurrence can result in permanent high blood pressure. And that is something you don’t want. Isn’t it?
The root cause – Harmful chemicals in tobacco affect your blood vessels negatively, even if you are a victim of passive smoking. Arteries harden and the depletion starts even without you knowing it. So, please stop it for the sake of your good health for you and those around you.
7. Stress is not good
Times are stressful and there is plenty to worry about. But do you know that it affects you negatively and elevates your blood pressure?
You cannot isolate the environment which gives you stress, but you can reduce stress by various means. Take a walk, read a book, deep breathing are some ways you can help yourself relieve stress.
8. Meditate or Perform Yoga
Mindfulness and meditation, including spiritual meditation, have always been useful as a method to relieve stress. A 2012 study concludes that a university program in Massachusetts had over 19,000 people participate during a meditation program to relieve stress.
Yoga, which involves breathing control, posture change, and meditation techniques, can be widely effective in reducing stress and hypertension.
A 2013 study on yoga and high blood pressure found an average pressure level drop of 3.62/4.17 mm of Hg in comparison to people who didn’t exercise.
So yeah, the more you meditate and exercise, the better it is for your blood pressure.
9. Chocolates help in lowering high blood pressure
Yes. Finally, some interesting things to eat, yeah? I understand completely!
It’s a reality that dark chocolate helps in reducing blood pressure, given that at least 60% of the content is cocoa. You might ask but what’s the benefit of eating dark chocolate? Correct. It contains flavonoids that are an essential ingredient in cocoa and that is what cures high blood pressure.
So, what are you waiting for? Go and eat that dark chocolate today!
10. Good, restful sleep is necessary
Yes, unless your body is fully rested, with a night of deep sleep, you cannot expect the blood pressure to be normal. But why is a restful sleep necessary? When you sleep, your blood pressure lowers down. And if you are already having hypertension, this is good since sleep will dip your blood pressure and bring it slightly towards normal.
If you sleep less than 7 hours per night regularly, you might be prone to increased blood pressure.
If you sleep less than 5 hours per night regularly, you are at great risk of increasing blood pressure. So make sure you have a peaceful and well-rested sleep.
Pro Tip: Pineapples also reduce hypertension. Read about this wonder fruit here.
11. Garlic Supplements Help Lower Hypertension
Not kidding. You might think why I said this?
Garlic extract has found to be lowering blood pressure according to a study garlic extract preparation has a good effect on blood pressure than the garlic powder capsule. A 2012 study found that 87 people with hypertension reduced blood pressure by 6/12 mm of Hg.
Therefore, if you are having hypertension you should frequently take garlic extracts daily. this will help you in maintaining normal blood pressure while carrying out daily activities.
12. Eat protein-rich food
A 2014 study found that people who consume a protein-rich diet had a lower risk of increasing blood pressure those who did not. 100-gram protein per day on an average reduces blood pressure risk by 40%. adding regular into the diet also reduces hypertension by about 60%. Please note that are high protein diet may not suit everyone. people who have Kidney Disease need to be careful and consult the doctor before taking a protein-rich diet.
Foods that include high protein are:
- poultry such as chicken
For strictly vegetarian people, half cup Bean contains about 7 to 10 grams of protein. peanut butter Taken 2 tablespoons to provide 8 grams of protein.
13. Consume BP lowering supplements
Consumption of blood pressure lowering supplements that are available in the market can help in reducing hypertension.
Omega – 3 polyunsaturated fatty acid
This substance is also called fish oil, which when added to the diet has many benefits. An analysis of this fatty acid tells us that it can reduce blood pressure by 4.5 / 3.0 mm of Hg.
This protein is derived from milk show significant health benefits which includes lowering hypertension.
Deficiency of magnesium is directly related to hypertension. the analysis found that magnesium supplementation can lower blood pressure in a good proportion.
14. Reduce alcohol consumption
Alcohol is known to increase blood pressure, even though you are healthy. Moderate drinking is okay, but excess drinking certainly bad and not advised for people with high blood pressure. every 10 grams of alcohol consumption leads to 1 mm of Hg increase in blood pressure. a standard drink is known as 12-ounce beer or 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits. Model drinking is known as up to one drink a day for women and up to 2 for men. So, refrain from using alcohol to keep blood pressure and check.
15. Reducing caffeine
Caffeine is known as the most important ingredient in coffee. it has a temporary effect on raising blood pressure which lasts about 45 to 60 minutes. Different people react differently to caffeine. some may be more sensitive others may be less. if you are suffering from high blood pressure, it is recommended that you cut back on Caffeine intake for a healthy lifestyle.
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