Over 100 million people in the United States have high blood pressure. The American Heart Association warned that this is likely to increase. With almost half of adults in the U.S. having high blood pressure, this is a medical emergency.
Looking to manage your blood pressure without medication? Follow tips proven to work. Discover our eight smart ways to lower your blood pressure now.
1. Pet Your Dog
Petting your dog or even somebody else’s dog can reduce blood pressure. A study has found that even 15 minutes of stroking a pet can reduce blood pressure by as much as 10%.
The effect seems to be due to a general reduction in stress. Feel good hormones such as serotonin are released into your system by petting a dog. The antidepressant effect is beneficial and results in lower blood pressure.
If you don’t have access to a dog, other pets will do. Rabbits and cats have the same effect. Try fifteen minutes a day of medicinal petting and both you and your pets will appreciate it.
2. Exercise More
Do regular exercise. Try for every day. Even thirty minutes will make a difference.
Regular exercise can bring your blood pressure down, but it can also rise if you stop exercising, so keep it up. The type of exercise you do is also important.
Aerobic exercise is a type of exercise that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe heavily. Strength training can also be beneficial. Don’t kid yourself that you are doing useful exercise if it does not raise your heart and breathing rates.
The form of exercise you take is up to personal taste and motivation. Jogging, cycling, swimming, and even dancing are all good so long as the exercise is sustained.
Interval training and exercise classes such as step or spin can also be great fun. This helps with motivation. It’s important to find activities that you can sustain in the long term.
3. Eat Healthily
Fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains should be part of your diet. They are healthy foods that look after your heart. Reduce salt (sodium), saturated fats, and sugar in your diet.
Keeping a food diary can help expose any problem areas with your eating habits. Do it for a week and record what you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat. Check to see if you are eating enough good things or depending on processed, fatty, or sugary foods.
Have a plan for what you eat so you can make good food choices. It’s harder to make those choices when you are making decisions on the run. It’s even harder to make those choices when you are hungry.
One aim of a better diet is to lose weight. If you are overweight for your height, reducing your calorie intake is an effective way of reducing weight. Eat less fatty and sugary foods and your calorie intake will reduce.
4. Drink Less Alcohol
Reducing your alcohol intake can be an effective way of reducing your blood pressure. Drinking more than moderately can raise blood pressure and it’s also damaging to general health.
Alcohol can be a cause of obesity and may be related to stress. Both being overweight and suffering from stress are potential causes of high blood pressure.
Moderate drinking means no more than one alcoholic drink a day. If you have high blood pressure try abstaining, not drinking every day or drinking only moderately.
5. Stress Less
Stress is a major influence on blood pressure. A faster heart rate and constricted blood vessels can be caused by being in a constant state of stress. This stress could be related to anxiety and lifestyle.
Feeling stressful can lead to other problem behaviors that also cause high blood pressure. Drinking alcohol and eating the wrong foods are examples.
Learning to reduce stress in your life can also have effects on other aspects of your lifestyle. Stress can be reduced by regular exercise, eating better, drinking less alcohol, and reducing caffeine. All these things also have other beneficial effects on your general health.
Mindfulness techniques can also be helpful. Yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and Tai Chi are all ways of reducing stress. Even time out with family, going for a walk, or listening to music can be relaxing and de-stressing.
6. Stop Smoking
Smoking is a risk factor for heart disease. That’s a good reason to stop smoking. High blood pressure also raises the risk of heart disease so acting together smoking and high blood pressure are both bad for your heart.
Cutting out smoking and taking other measures to reduce blood pressure can make a difference to the likelihood that you will develop heart disease.
Each puff of a cigarette temporarily increases your blood pressure. This effect lasts for a short while after you extinguish a cigarette.
Giving up smoking helps with your overall health. It’s helpful to stop smoking when you are trying to incorporate more exercise and less stress into your lifestyle.
7. Chiropractic Care
Chiropractors adjust misalignments of the vertebra in your spine. Often, they are consulted about back or neck pain but did you know that there is evidence they can help with high blood pressure? The details can be found in a study by Dr. George Bakris who is the director of the Hypertension Centre at the University of Chicago.
A misalignment in the vertebra can interfere with your nervous system. The result can be problems with blood pressure. Correcting the misalignment has been shown to have a similar effect as two blood-pressure medicines taken at the same time.
The study was conducted using a control group who received a placebo treatment. This means patients did not know whether they were receiving the chiropractic adjustment or not. Blood pressure was found to drop in the group receiving the chiropractic treatment.
8. Reduce Salt
Sodium is in salt. If you stop adding salt to the food you eat, you can help reduce blood pressure. Be aware that most of the salt you eat is probably already in the food before you add any salt yourself.
Read food labels to understand what salt has already been added to processed food. There are often low sodium alternatives that taste just as good. Eating less processed food also reduces the amount of sodium in your diet.
You might find that the lack of salt means you find food tasteless. Try reducing the salt gradually. You will find that you soon adjust to the reduced saltiness and food will be just as tasty.
Lower Your Blood Pressure and Monitor Yourself
You can measure your blood pressure yourself with an inexpensive home blood pressure monitor. Regularly check your blood pressure and record the results. See the effects of the changes you are making to lower your blood pressure.
It’s up to you to maintain a healthy lifestyle but check out how often you should see a doctor.
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