People with hypertension need several medications for relief, as maintenance, and everything else in between, to control their blood pressure. It often is very expensive, and the effects are rather irreversible at this point. The unfortunate thing is that it would take lifestyle changes to fully control hypertension. Then again, on the flip side, starting to change your lifestyle to a healthier one – and specifically the blood pressure-friendly one – can definitely help you naturally control your blood pressure.
Still, anybody who has hypertension should be encouraged to work with their physician to try various ways that might help them lower their blood pressure without the use of pharmacologic agents. However, if you’re looking for the natural ways to deal with hypertension, here’s the top things you should be changing with your lifestyle.
Research shows even small amounts of exercise can help lower high blood pressure. If you haven’t been working out, well, you won’t need to drastically start with intense exercises.
As a general note, everyone — especially those with health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, specifically high blood pressure — should get at least 2 and a half hours of modest exercise every week. Try for at least 30 minutes a day for 4 to 5 days a week. One of the most effective and easiest exercises you can do is walking. You can walk anywhere, and it doesn’t require any equipment beyond a good pair of sneakers.
The key is to get started with a hypertension exercise program. After a few minutes a day, you can see overall bodily development, especially on how the exercise gets easier each time — and easier to add more time to each workout. Before you know it, those five minutes becomes 10, and doing 10 minutes three times a day could add up to the 30 that you need. After a long while, you are now able to run for a few minutes, until the workout intensity that you can perform is already high.
If you’re limited by back, hip, or knee pain, and even short walks are difficult, try a workout that doesn’t put stress on your limbs. Try walking in a heated pool; the warm water can soothe and cushion rather than stress the joints. Also, a stationary bike (either you buy one or go to the gym) can be truly helpful since it provides less stress for several joints while still being able to provide adequate amount of exercise.
If you are successful in reaching that level of exercise where you can already lose weight, you should now consider cutting down pounds from your body. Blood pressure often increases as one’s weight increases. Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep, which further raises your blood pressure.
Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. Losing just 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) can help reduce your blood pressure. Besides shedding pounds, you generally should also keep an eye on your waistline. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure.
Eat Bananas (Or fruits rich in potassium) Daily
Bananas contain a large amount of potassium, which has been found to help control blood pressure. A study by P.K. Whelton and his colleagues that was published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” has shown that increasing your daily potassium intake can be enough to lower your systolic pressure by 3 mmHg and your diastolic pressure nearly 2 mmHg. Other studies also show how bananas and other fruits rich in potassium are effective in naturally managing blood pressure.
Scientifically speaking, potassium is a mineral responsible for maintenance of fluid and electrolyte balance in the blood and around your cells. Potassium interacts with other minerals, the most influential being sodium. A high intake of sodium causes your body to retain water, increasing your blood pressure. Potassium works to reduce the water retention caused by sodium. All these things considered, maintaining a diet that’s rich in potassium can definitely help in managing or preventing hypertension.
Reduce Salt (Sodium) Intake
As mentioned above, potassium helps out in the overall management of high blood pressure. Here’s the thing: Your physiology is composed of many checks and balances, and the relationship between sodium and potassium is a very important one. Also, people with normal blood pressure, moderately high blood pressure, and full-fledged hypertension can substantially reduce their blood pressure by cutting salt intake.
The Dietary Guidelines recommend that people with hypertension limit their intake of salt to less than 1,500 milligrams (600 milligrams of sodium) a day. It’s the best for you if you start reading food labels before eating them. If possible, choose low-sodium alternatives of the foods and beverages you normally buy. Also, eat fewer processed foods. Only a small amount of sodium occurs naturally in foods. Most sodium is added during processing.
Starting now, don’t add extra salt. Just 1 level teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium. Use herbs or spices to add flavor to your food instead of looking for ways to make your food saltier.
Also, try easing into this change; if you don’t feel you can drastically reduce the sodium in your diet immediately, cut back gradually. Much like how you start small with your exercise, your palate adjusts over time as you decrease your salt intake.
Another way to reduce your blood pressure naturally is by minimizing the amount of stress that you have to deal with everyday. One of the best things you can do to lower stress is to learn how to manipulate sympathetic nervous system activity with techniques to calm your system, defuse emotional anxiety, and promote optimal physical and mental balance.
Try your best to stay positive. Laughter has been found to lower levels of stress hormones, reduce inflammation in the arteries, and increase “good” HDL cholesterol. Also, reduce your unwanted stress from worrying about the future; if you want, you can even apply for insurance from the best life insurance companies for high blood pressure just so you’ll have less to worry about.
You can also try something like meditation. This practice of inward-focused thought and deep breathing has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure. Meditation’s close relatives, yoga and prayer, can also relax the mind and body.
Hypertensive adults with and without coronary disease have shown that yoga-based interventions can reduce the need for high blood pressure medication. Yoga does not require an enormous time commitment, too. A session as short as a daily 30-minute yoga has been shown to effectively reduce blood pressure in many adults.
The bottom line is this – steer away from negative emotions such as anger and grief as much as you can. Your emotions, particularly anger and grief, are hidden causes of high blood pressure. While high blood pressure may be caused by a chemical imbalance, unhealthy diet, or excess weight, hypertension can arise because you are “hyper-tense”—filled with bottled-up anger or grief.
Overall, maintaining a healthier lifestyle is one of the main keys to maintaining lower blood pressure. Do not smoke, or start on quitting smoking little by little. Cut down on your alcohol – and if you can, slowly quit drinking – by focusing on the healthy wine that you love and not overdose on it. Eat healthier and more nutritious food. Stick to these tips, and you can surely have a hypertension-free life as you grow older.