Under new guidelines from the American Heart Association, which classify blood pressure readings above 130/80 mmHg as high, nearly half of adults in the United States live with high blood pressure (hypertension). The condition can lead to life-threatening complications if left unaddressed. If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, then you are likely working with your doctor and taking medication to regulate your blood pressure. You can also manage blood pressure with the following adjustments to your lifestyle. In other words, you can lower blood pressure without medication.
It is possible to be skinny and have high blood pressure, but blood pressure readings tend to increase along with the number on the scale. If you have a high body mass index, change your eating habits and start exercising to lose weight and lower blood pressure.
Speaking of healthy diet, there are certain things that should be added and eliminated from your food. Avoid sodium, added sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed foods. Fill your diet with fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains that are rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium. Savor a piece of flavonoid-rich dark chocolate for dessert to dilate blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.
Moving your body strengthens your heart, making it more efficient at pumping blood which lowers blood pressure. Aim for 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (think running) or 150 minutes of moderate activity (think walking) each week. The more you move, the stronger your heart.
Moderate alcohol consumption (one drink per day for women and two for men) might improve heart health. Consuming any more, however, can have adverse effects, leading to increased blood pressure and other health concerns.
Each puff increases your blood pressure.
Drink Less Caffeine
Everyone loves their morning coffee, but caffeine has been shown to increase blood pressure in some. Before you swear it off for good, test your tolerance by sipping a cup and comparing before and 30-minute after blood pressure readings.
Anxiety releases stress hormones that help if you need to outrun a grizzly bear, but raise blood pressure over time. Try meditation, breathing exercises, calm music or taking lunch in the park.
Not getting enough shut-eye increases your risk of developing or worsening hypertension.
Whether in a supplement or in yogurt, probiotics have been associated with lowered blood pressure, reduced anxiety and more.
Look to your family, friends, new friends or a support group to surround yourself with like-minded people living a healthy lifestyle. Witnessing others’ successes will encourage you to stick to your plans, and when you achieve good health, you will have a group of friends ready to praise your efforts.
Although lifestyle adjustments can seriously improve your health and lower your blood pressure, you should not stop taking your medication or alter scheduling or dosage without first consulting your physician. Stay in touch with your doctor and monitor your blood pressure at home while beginning a new diet or exercise routine to keep your overall health in check.