Published on Sep 01, 2014 and last reviewed on Jul 07, 2022 - 4 min read
One can do several things to lower blood pressure naturally, even without medication. Read this article to know about the natural ways to control hypertension.
Hypertension or increased blood pressure is one of the major public health concerns worldwide. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of their increased blood pressure and often remain undiagnosed and untreated. High blood pressure raises the risk of stroke, heart disease, heart failure, vision loss, kidney damage, memory loss, and cognitive decline if left uncontrolled for too long. Therefore it is important to manage high blood pressure. One can do several things to decrease their blood pressure naturally, even without medications. Lifestyle plays a vital role in managing high blood pressure. People with hypertension may not need medications if they can successfully control their blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some lifestyle changes that can lower blood pressure:
The dietary approach to stop hypertension (DASH) diet is designed to lower blood pressure. This diet includes fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. In addition, people who follow the DASH diet meet low-sodium and high potassium guidelines and maintain a healthy weight. Research suggests that the DASH diet can drop systolic pressure up to 11 mmHg; hence, it is now considered one of the essential non-pharmacological measures for controlling hypertension.
Although changing eating habits may be difficult, a few tips may help follow a healthy diet. They are:
Maintain a Food Diary - It is always better to track what a person eats, how much, when, and why by maintaining a food diary. This helps understand the true eating habits.
Boost Potassium - Potassium can decrease the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Potassium-rich fruits and vegetables are the best sources of potassium instead of supplements.
Shop Smarter - When buying any food, read the labels carefully to know the composition of the food items and stick to a healthy eating plan.
Low-Sodium Diet: Even a slight reduction in the sodium in the diet can improve heart health and lower blood pressure by about 5 to 6 mm Hg in people with high blood pressure. The recommended salt consumption for people with hypertension and prehypertension is less than 100 mEq per L sodium per day. Low salt intake is crucial in middle-aged to older adults who have family members with hypertension. To decrease the sodium in the diet, follow the following tips:
Choose low-sodium foods and beverages as much as possible.
Avoid eating processed foods as they are high in sodium.
If a person cannot reduce sodium drastically, try to reduce it slowly in the diet, and adjust over time.
When buying groceries, compare the nutrition labels of food items.
Choose healthier snacks, such as nuts, nutrition bars, and others.
Limit Alcohol Consumption: Drinking more than recommended (one drink a day for women or two a day for men) amounts of alcohol can increase blood pressure by several points. In addition, it can also lessen the effectiveness of hypertension medications.
Exercise Regularly: People who exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes or more, especially aerobic exercise, have reduced blood pressure. Exercise can help prevent hypertension if a person has elevated blood pressure. It can also bring the blood pressure down to safer levels for someone with hypertension. Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or dancing are the best examples of aerobic exercises. Strength training is also effective in reducing blood pressure.
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight increases the probability of high blood pressure. Conversely, losing weight can help the blood vessels expand and contract better, making it easier for the heart to pump blood. This effect is more significant when paired with exercise. In addition, weight loss with the DASH diet improves the left ventricular mass and helps reduce the stress on the heart.
Quit Smoking: Smoking cigarettes release nicotine, raising blood pressure by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. As a result, complications of hypertension, such as cardiovascular disease and stroke, are more common in people who smoke than in those who do not. Thus, quitting smoking can lessen the risk of heart disease and improve overall health. In addition, people who quit smoking may live longer than those who never quit.
Cut Back on Caffeine: Caffeine can increase blood pressure to 10 mm Hg in individuals who rarely consume it. But those who drink coffee regularly may have slight or no effect on their blood pressure. So although the long-term effects of caffeine on blood pressure are still unclear, it is possible blood pressure can increase a little.
Reduce Stress: Stress can cause high blood pressure. People often react to stress by eating unhealthy food, smoking, or drinking alcohol, thus resulting in high blood pressure. Therefore, various stress busters can help reduce blood pressure. These may include listening to soothing music, reading books, and doing yoga or meditation. Identify what is causing the stress and consider how to eliminate or reduce stress. Also, focus on issues that can be controlled and make plans to solve them.
Get Good Sleep: Getting six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep at night can help control high and fluctuating blood pressure.
Get Support:Support from family, friends and close relatives can help improve an individual's overall health. In addition, they can provide an emotional or morale boost and offer practical tips to cope with the condition.
Hypertension is a dangerous condition that affects a large proportion of populations across the globe. If left uncontrolled for too long, it can raise the risk of stroke, heart disease, heart failure, vision loss, kidney damage, memory loss, and cognitive decline. While medications are one way to treat this condition, many other natural techniques, including lifestyle modifications, can help manage it. These are several non-pharmacological ways of lowering blood pressure, such as reducing sodium in the diet, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, doing physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight. Naturally managing hypertension may be difficult to follow, but try to plan accordingly and follow regularly.
Last reviewed at:
07 Jul 2022 - 4 min read
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