High blood pressure or hypertension occurs in a large proportion of the population, and it can be a risk factor for multiple diseases. Most people know that it can lead to the development of heart disease, but this is not the only condition that can result from unhealthy blood pressure. It is important to note that it can slowly damage the body for many years, even before the first symptoms of diseases occur. Aside from heart diseases, hypertension can lead to damage to the arteries, damage to the brain, and kidney issues. Overall, your quality of life can significantly go down because of the condition. So, how can you lower blood pressure naturally? Let’s find out.
- Avoid salty foods and keep a food diary
Studies have shown that salty foods can significantly increase your blood pressure since the body is forced to hold more water to flush out the extra salt. Because of this, you need to keep a food diary to determine how much salt you are taking in. In this diary, you should note down how much food and drink you take in through the day, along with their salt content. You should note that the recommended sodium intake in a day is 2300 mg or less, and this is equal to only one teaspoon.
- Consume more foods with potassium
Diets rich in potassium are highly recommended for people suffering from hypertension, and this is because this mineral can lower the effects of sodium. As you consume potassium, your body will naturally lose sodium through urine. In addition, the mineral will help to ease the tension in your blood vessel walls, thus reducing blood pressure. It is worth noting that potassium is recommended for patients who have hypertension but who are otherwise healthy. If you have kidney diseases or have to take medications, you should be careful about the amount of potassium you consume. If you are in doubt about the amount of potassium to take in, you should consult your doctor.
- Increase daily activity
Increasing your activity levels helps reduce the stiffness in your blood vessels, allowing blood to flow freely. It is worth noting that simple workouts such as brisk walking can be beneficial in this respect, so you don’t necessarily need to subscribe to the gym. However, you should make sure the activity is incorporated into your daily routine, and try to engage in moderate exercise for at least 150 minutes per week, as recommended by the NHS. If you are extremely overweight, you should engage in less strenuous workouts so that you avoid injury.
- Avoid Stressful Situations
Stress and anxiety raise the heart rate, and if this happens consistently, you will end up suffering from hypertension. For this reason, you should avoid stressful situations as much as possible. Also, you can practice some stress controlling exercises such as controlling your breathing and yoga. It is also worth noting that working out can help to manage stress by releasing feel-good hormones. If you are suffering from very high levels of anxiety and stress, you can visit a counselor who will help you recognize your triggers so that you can avoid them better. They may also train you to think about your issues more productively.
- Cut Back on Sugar Consumption
Just like salt, sugar can be a major cause of hypertension. Consuming high amounts of sugar will eventually lead to obesity, and this will constrict your blood vessels. Women should aim at limiting their daily sugar consumption to a maximum of 25 grams or 6 teaspoons, and men should observe a limit of 36 grams or 9 teaspoons. Again, you can monitor your sugar consumption by keeping a food diary. Note that many processed foods have very high sugar levels, so they should be reduced or eliminated from your diet.
- Quit Smoking
Smoking is one of the worst habits you can take up as it negatively impacts many aspects of health. The nicotine present in tobacco can narrow your arteries, harden the walls of your blood vessels, and raise your heart rate. As such, you should consider lowering the number of cigarettes you smoke every day, and make it your goal to kick the habit eventually. One way of reducing your smoking is by identifying your triggers so that you can avoid them as much as possible. For example, if you are a social smoker, you should stay away from other smokers. Some people also get the urge to smoke when they drink alcohol or get into stressful situations, and therefore, these should be avoided as much as possible.
High blood pressure is a common problem that affects a large proportion of the population. As such, it is necessary to learn how to control the condition. Some natural ways of lowering blood pressure include reducing salt consumption, reducing sugar consumption, managing stress levels, and avoiding cigarettes.