Maybe you are one of the millions of Americans who is living with high blood pressure. While the cause is often unknown, what we do know is that the longer blood pressure is high, the more dangerous the side effects can become. So what can you do to start lowering your blood pressure? There are plenty of medications aimed at lowering your levels, however there are also many natural ways to help achieve your goals. Here we will look at ten simple ways you can start lowering your blood pressure (BP) right away.
#1: Watch Your Weight and Your Waistline
Blood pressure has a natural tendency to rise as a persons weight increases. Losing weight is one of the best ways to control and lower your BP. Losing as little as 10 pounds can help lower your pressure to a healthier range. In addition to managing your weight, you should also keep an eye on your waistline. Carrying extra weight around your mid-section can put you at higher risk of high blood pressure. The rule of thumb is:
- Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches
- Women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches
#2: Exercise Regularly
Another great way to lower your BP is to increase your physical activity. Engaging in at least 30 minutes of exercise 4-5 times a week you can lower your blood pressure considerably. If you fall into the slightly elevated category, being active can help avoid a diagnosis of hypertension. The best forms of exercise for lowering BP include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming and strength training.
#3: Eat a Balanced Diet
Many of us would admit that we should eat healthier, but people with high blood pressure should pay special attention to what they eat. Moving to a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, with limited saturated fat and cholesterol can decrease their BP by up to 14 mm/hg. This dietary plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. One of the best parts about the DASH diet is that it does not focus on food deprivation, rather it encourages eating enough to keep you full while cutting out sodium and artificial sugars.
#4: Find out Which Supplements Can Help Lower BP
There are a number of vitamins and supplements that can lead to lower blood pressure. Some of the best include:
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)is one of the best nutrients for the cardiovascular system. CoQ10 supplementation also has been proven to lower blood pressure naturally.
- Omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA are game changers when it comes to overall cardiovascular health.
- Vitamin D is one of the best ways to naturally reduce blood pressure. It is even more effective at lowering BP when combined with calcium.
- Magnesium has a strong link to high blood pressure, especially in older men. In a recent study, 615 men increased their magnesium intake and researchers saw a significant drop in blood pressure. https://www.mgwater.com/hyper.shtml
#5: Reduce Your Salt Intake
When it comes to hypertension, sodium is not your friend. Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can lead to a reduction of 2 to 8 mm/hg. The effect of sodium on blood pressure varies from person to person. Generally speaking, sodium levels should be limited to 2,000 milligrams per day. For people with BP sensitivity to sodium, salt intake should be kept to 1,500 mg a day. People falling into this category tend to include:
- People 51 or older
- Anyone diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease
#6: Limit Your Alcohol
In regards to your blood pressure, alcohol can be both a help and a hindrance. In small amounts, it can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg. Drink too much and it can increase your BP. Generally more than one drink a day for women and for men older than age 65, or two a day for men age 65 and younger would be the line where alcohol goes from helping to hurting. Alcohol has also been shown to reduce the effectiveness of some blood pressure medications.
#7: Quit Smoking
There are a myriad of reasons to quit smoking. With each cigarette you smoke your blood pressure rises for several minutes. In the short term the effect is minimal, but over time it creates a cumulative effect on your BP. Quitting smoking can help get your blood pressure back to normal.
#8: Limit Caffeine
The effect of caffeine on blood pressure is a hotly contested topic. Studies have shown that caffeine can increase blood pressure by as much as 10 mm/hg in people who rarely drink it. However it has also shown minimal effect on blood pressure in long-term coffee drinkers. While the truth is yet to be determined, for people trying to lower BP naturally it is something to consider.
#9: Manage Stress
Unmanaged stress is an important factor contributing to high blood pressure. While we can’t eliminate the sources of stress in our lives, we can try to better manage our response in order to limit the stress hormones from raising our BP. Avoid turning to unhealthy foods, alcohol and smoking in times of stress and get some exercise to moderate its effect.
#10: Monitor Your BP and Talk to Your Doctor
Home monitoring is another helpful way to stay on top of your blood pressure. You can keep your physician in the loop on fluctuations, as well monitoring your personal BP trends after changes in diet, exercise or stress. Should your BP remain high after these natural methods you can consult with your doctor about possible medications to control your BP.
These are just ten of the many natural ways you can help lower your blood pressure and get on the path to optimal health. While some people may require medications to help lower their BP, others will find great success with these natural blood pressure lowering techniques.