Maintaining a healthy blood pressure keeps the heart strong and arteries clear. Unsurprisingly, high blood pressure is a risk of stroke and heart . The target blood pressure for most people is below 120/80 mm Hg. A person has high blood pressure when it rises to 130/80 mm Hg or more. Elevated blood pressure ranges between 120 and 129 or below 80. Such readings mean a person is at the risk of having high blood pressure. Therefore, the doctor may suggest lifestyle tips to manage blood pressure and prevent it from becoming too high.
The modern, busy lifestyle makes having time for exercising, destressing, and preparing healthy meals challenging. Unfortunately, your blood pressure will change every minute in response to what you do or endure, including physical activity and stress. Also, hormonal changes, weather, and genetics can increase blood pressure. For instance, your blood pressure can be highest at midday because it’s when you are most active and drops overnight while sleeping. But if you constantly struggle with high blood pressure, there are ways you can lower it.
Here are 20 ways to effectively lower your blood pressure.
1. Manage Your Body Weight
Excess body weight strains the cardiovascular system and the heart, raising blood pressure. Somebody with a body mass index of 25 and above can lower blood pressure by losing 5 to 10 pounds. Therefore, eat less and healthy and move more to reduce your body weight if you want to lower your blood pressure.
2. Exercise More Often
Resistance and aerobic exercise can help you manage high blood pressure. When you exercise, you increase your breathing and heart rates. Consequently, you strengthen your heart to pump blood with less effort while putting pressure on the arteries and lowering blood pressure.
The body releases adrenaline and cortisol hormones in response to stress. These hormones constrict your blood vessels and raise the heart rate, causing a spike in blood pressure. Therefore, practice yoga, meditation, tai chi, and other breathing exercises to lower stress hormones and blood pressure.
4. Lower Your Salt Intake
Blood pressure is salt-sensitive in some people. Therefore, lowering your salt intake might help when battling high blood pressure. That means consuming less than 2,300 mg or about a teaspoon of salt daily. Also, tread cautiously around processed and packaged foods, including poultry, pizza, bread, sandwiches, and soup.
5. Lower Refined Carbohydrates and Sugar Intake
Reducing refined carbohydrates and sugar intake can help you manage weight and lower blood pressure. Obese people can lower blood pressure by around 5 mm Hg by following low-fat and low-carb diets.
6. Increase Your Potassium Intake
Potassium is a vital mineral that helps the body remove sodium and ease the pressure on blood vessels. Therefore, increasing your potassium intake can help you lower your blood pressure. Potassium-rich foods include vegetables like tomatoes, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes. Others include dairy products, seeds, nuts, salmon, tuna, and beans.
7. Lower Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine consumption causes an instant blood pressure spike. However, only a few studies suggest that regular caffeine consumption may cause a lasting blood pressure increase. So, if you suspect your body is sensitive to caffeine effects, consider reducing your intake to see if it will help with your high blood pressure.
8. Follow a Heart-Healthy Diet
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) might help with high blood pressure. This diet emphasizes eating vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. It also recommends consuming zero- or low-fat dairy products, fish, beans, poultry, and nuts. Moreover, it emphasizes limiting added sugars and foods rich in saturated fats.
9. Avoid or Quit Smoking
Smoking affects the entire human health, including blood pressure. Tobacco has chemicals that may increase blood pressure by causing inflammation, damaging the walls of your blood vessels, and narrowing the arteries. It causes high blood pressure by hardening the arteries. Therefore, avoid or quit smoking to lower your blood pressure.
10. Limit Alcohol Consumption
Consuming 30 g of alcohol or more increases the heart rate for up to 24 hours. However, the blood pressure falls for 12 hours before rising. Therefore, limiting your alcohol consumption to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women can help you lower blood pressure.
11. Eat Berries
Berries have polyphenols, the natural compounds that benefit the heart and lower blood pressure. Eating berries can lower the risk of heart conditions, stroke, and diabetes. It also improves systemic inflammation, blood pressure, and insulin resistance.
12. Eat Protein-Rich Foods
Research has shown that people who eat protein-rich foods have up to 40% lower long-term risk of getting high blood pressure. Combining high-protein food with high fiber intake lowers this risk by up to 60%. High-protein foods may include eggs, fish, poultry, chickpeas, legumes, beans, lean beef, nuts, and dairy products.
13. Eat Garlic
Garlic extract or fresh garlic can help you lower blood pressure. Research has shown that taking garlic supplements can reduce blood pressure by about 5 mm Hg.
14. Get Adequate Sleep
Individuals with sleep deprivation have a higher risk of high blood pressure. Blood pressure drops when sleeping. Therefore, inadequate or poor-quality sleep denies you this experience. Thus, create an environment or situations that help you sleep well and adequately, such as a dark, cool room, and maintain a regular sleep schedule. Also, avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine when nearing your bedtime.
15. Eat Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has flavonoids, which may help your body lower blood pressure. Flavonoids are antioxidants that may widen or dilate the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. Nevertheless, avoid chocolate with high calories, fat, or sugar amounts.
16. Get Outdoors
Health experts have linked low vitamin D levels to high blood pressure. Treating high blood pressure in people with deficient vitamin D levels is more challenging in some people. Your body can get vitamin D from supplements, fortified foods, and skin exposure to sunlight. However, getting outdoors is the most effective way to boost your vitamin D levels. Additionally, blood vessels widen, lowering blood pressure when you get outdoors.
17. Address Other Health Issues
In some cases, high blood pressure is due to the supplements or drugs a person has been taking. Also, an underlying medical condition, such as kidney obstruction or thyroid imbalance, can cause high blood pressure. Therefore, addressing such health issues may help lower your blood pressure.
18. Take Supplements
Some supplements can help you manage high blood pressure. These include whey protein, potassium, and magnesium. Nevertheless, check with your doctor before trying any supplement for blood pressure since only some are safe for some people.
19. Drink Water
According to some studies, drinking 550 ml of water within 2 hours when you wake up and the same amount before bedtime may lower blood pressure. Nevertheless, further research is necessary to explain how this works. Overall, water has many health benefits.
20. Take Prescription Drugs
Please consult your doctor if you cannot lower your blood pressure by making lifestyle changes. They will recommend appropriate prescription medication, depending on your overall health and blood pressure level.
Lowering blood pressure requires you to make lifestyle changes. Consider the above ways to effectively reduce your blood pressure and involve your family members to get their support.