7 Tips For Lowering Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure is a serious disease that affects one in three adults. Here are seven tips for lowering blood pressure naturally without drugs.
High blood pressure (hypertension) can quietly damage your body for years before symptoms develop. Left uncontrolled, it can lead to a variety of health problems, such as arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), aneurysm, coronary artery disease, heart failure, kidney failure and stroke.
Blood pressure medications come in a wide range of formulas and dosages, each aimed at reducing the pressure going through the blood vessels either as the heart pumps blood or relaxes. Some medications strengthen the blood vessels while others thin the blood in an effort to reduce the strain.
Trial and error is usually a doctor's only course of action when determining which combination of drugs and treatments will benefit a specific patient. The problem with this approach is that dangerous side effects can often accompany the drugs. The drugs can also be quite expensive.
Lifestyle plays an important role in treating hypertension. If you successfully control your hypertension with healthy lifestyle changes, you may avoid, delay or reduce the need for drugs.
Here are seven tips for lowering blood pressure naturally without drugs:
1. Lose excess weight.
Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. By reducing your weight by as little as 10%, you can significantly lower blood pressure. In general, the more weight you lose the lower your blood pressure.
2. Exercise regularly.
Regular exercise can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), and it doesn't take long to see a difference. If you haven't been active, increasing your exercise level can lower your blood pressure within just a few weeks. If you have prehypertension, exercise can help you avoid developing full-blown hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular exercise can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.
3. Eat a healthy diet.
Eating a diet that's rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and trans fat can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg.
4. Reduce your sodium intake.
On average, the higher a person's sodium intake the higher a person's blood pressure. Most of the sodium in a person's diet comes from salt, so a low salt diet will keep sodium intake within a healthy range. Most healthy adults need only between 1,500 and 2,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day. But if you have hypertension, aim for less than 1,500 mg of sodium a day.
5. Drink plenty of water.
Drinking plenty of water provides a multitude of health benefits, including removing toxins and waste products from the body. Drink plenty of water each day to flush out excess sodium and toxins that make their way into your bloodstream.
6. Avoid tobacco products and secondhand smoke.
On top of all the other dangers of smoking, the nicotine in tobacco products can raise your blood pressure by 10 mm Hg or more for up to an hour after you smoke. Smoking throughout the day means your blood pressure may remain constantly high. If you can't quit smoking completely, then at least cut down. Even a 50% reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked each week can help lower the risk of hypertension.
7. Reduce stress.
Stress can temporarily increase blood pressure. Try exercising, listening to relaxing music, or meditating to take the edge off of a stressful day. Make sure you take time each day to destress and relax.