This article tells how to control high blood pressure without any medicine with simple lifestyle modifications.
An increase in blood pressure is one of the most common public health issues worldwide. Many people do not know they have increased blood pressure and remain undiagnosed, and over half of the hypertensive population are not adequately treated. It has been said that there is no definite dividing line between high and normal blood pressures. Hypertension is the level of blood pressure affecting some particular organs. Blood pressure can be controlled by following some lifestyle modifications such as the dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH), reducing sodium intake, minimizing alcohol consumption, exercising regularly, losing weight, quitting smoking, and having some stressbusters.
1) Dietary Changes:
The DASH diet suggests a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, and low in fats. Following this plan helps reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Although the studies are not conclusive, moderate intake of dark chocolate may lower blood pressure. This is because it helps stabilize the inside of the blood vessels. Similarly, many studies propagate the advantages and benefits of diets rich in fructose for metabolic syndrome and hypertension.
Changing eating habits is not that easy, but some tips may help us follow a healthy diet. They are:
Food Diary - In order to keep track of what we are eating, a food diary may be followed for at least a week as it helps us know our true eating habits. It is always better to monitor the food we eat and how much to eat.
Boost Potassium - Potassium benefits us by decreasing the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Some of the best sources of potassium-rich foods are fruits and vegetables. Reach out to your doctor to know the potassium level and what is best for you.
Shop Smarter - When you buy any food, read the labels to know the composition and stick to a healthy eating plan every time.
2) Sodium Reduction:
The recommended salt consumption for patients with hypertension and prehypertension is such that sodium should be less than 100 mEq per L per day. A graded blood pressure response is usually found with a greater blood pressure reduction with lower salt consumption. Reduction in salt intake is important in middle-aged to elderly people who have family members with hypertension. In order to decrease the sodium in the diet, consider the following tips:
While purchasing, look for possible low-sodium foods and beverages.
Reduce the number of processed foods. Try to eat only a small portion of sodium that occurs naturally in foods, and most high-sodium foods are made during processing.
One teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium, so instead, avoid it and try to add herbs or spices to flavor the food.
If you are not able to reduce sodium drastically, then try to reduce it gradually in your diet, and your plate will automatically adjust over time.
3) Reduce Alcohol Consumption:
Reducing alcohol consumption may reduce blood pressure - systolic as well as diastolic. A graded blood pressure response is usually found with a greater blood pressure reduction with lower alcohol consumption.
It is clear that patients who exercise for at least 30 minutes or more daily, especially aerobic exercise, have reduced systolic as well as diastolic blood pressure. Aerobic exercise also helps reduce weight and cardiovascular risk overall.
One of the biggest problems with an exercise regime is that people may start with great interest. But the interest gradually wanes.
Therefore, patients need to find an exercise that they enjoy so that they stick to the plan longer. Also, if one has no time to exercise, a brisk walk at lunch may help.
5) Weight Loss:
The fat distribution around the abdomen may predispose to insulin resistance and hypertension. For reducing blood pressure, weight loss is an important step. A graded blood pressure response is usually found with a greater blood pressure reduction with a greater weight loss. Weight loss also helps reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Weight loss with the DASH diet results in improving the left ventricular mass. By this, it helps reduce the stress on the heart.
6) Smoking Cessation:
Smoking cigarettes release nicotine. This raises blood pressure by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. This releases norepinephrine and epinephrine that help raise blood pressure. Complications of hypertension, for example, cardiovascular disease and stroke, increase in those who smoke.
7) Dietary Supplements:
The confirmatory data is low, but Vitamin C and Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce blood pressure.
8) Stress Busters:
Stress is a cause of high blood pressure. Therefore, a variety of stress busters are useful for reducing blood pressure. This may include any relaxing technique that may include music, books, meditation, etc. Meditation is an age-old well-designed technique that helps reduce blood pressure. Other benefits of meditation are well known. In addition, hypertensive patients are advised to avoid unnecessary tensions. They are asked to practice relaxation techniques as it helps us to be free of stress. If you have stressors and you are not able to eliminate them, then at least manage with them more healthily by:
Changing the expectations by planning the day and focusing on the important things. Do not try to or plan to do too much and learn in a day. Try to understand things in a better way as you cannot change or control them, and focus on how you react to such things.
Manage or try to avoid the stress triggers. Maybe in a day, you can rush to the office in the traffic, and it may cause stress. In order to avoid these, try to leave earlier in the morning. It is better to avoid people or things that cause stress if possible.
For all the above, a large number of studies have been done periodically, and standard guidelines, including JNC-7, also recommend these. Start following the above measures today.
Managing hypertension in a natural way might be difficult to follow regularly, but try to plan accordingly and follow routinely. Try to paste your daily routines as bookmarks on the living room or bedroom so that you will not forget to follow the routines, which helps you live a happy life.
Last reviewed at:
11 Mar 2022 - 4 min read
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