Learning how to lower blood pressure through natural practices is a great way to reduce your risk of heart disease. Fortunately, there are many methods available to decrease medication-dependency and increase overall heart health. Following these nine steps, recommended by the Scottsdale health care professionals at The Mollen Clinic, may help lower blood pressure substantially and facilitate a longer, happier life.
1. Start Losing Weight
Weight gain and increased blood pressure have a strong correlation. Therefore, patients struggling to lower their blood pressure should consider losing weight to help control the issue. Weight loss may be achieved through regular exercise, healthy diet, minimal sugar intake, avoidance of saturated fats, and other lifestyle and diet changes. After losing a few pounds, blood pressure medications typically begin working more efficiently to keep levels balanced.
2. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Since a healthy diet helps you lose weight, it plays a role in lowering blood pressure, as well. Avoiding saturated fats and high cholesterol are the two most important elements of a diet that reduces blood pressure. Instead of eating food high in fat and cholesterol, focus on nutrient-rich food to help keep your heart healthy.
- Pick more potassium. Food like potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, orange juice and kidney beans contribute to lowering blood pressure.
- Start reading labels. Many foods like to parade as health foods, when they really lend hardly any benefits to consumers.
- Eat out less. Not only is it difficult to stick to the plan at a restaurant, but it’s also easier to overeat and indulge more often. Cooking at home helps you become more conscious about what foods go into your body.
3. Exercise Regularly
Whether you choose power walking, jogging, swimming or rowing, any type of sustained physical activity that’s performed multiple times a week is helpful for lowering blood pressure. Health care providers typically recommend 30 to 60 minutes of exercise at least five days a week. In addition to lowering blood pressure, exercise increases energy levels, contributes to weight loss, and helps develop stronger muscles.
4. Practice Moderation
Salt and alcohol are the two most important substances to control when lowering blood pressure. Practice moderation with these, and blood pressure will drop quickly.
Salt: Don’t consume more than 2,300 milligrams per day. For patients battling high blood pressure, salt causes the body to retain extra water, which consequently raises blood pressure. Begin recording how much salt you consume each day, read labels closely and refrain from dosing each meal with an additional shake of salt.
Alcohol: It doesn’t necessarily have to be strictly avoided, but excessive alcohol use is risky for individuals with high blood pressure. Light drinking is actually proven to decrease blood pressure, but more than one drink per day (women) or two drinks per day (men) can increase blood pressure and reduce sensitivity to medications. (Note: patients should not start drinking alcohol to combat blood pressure.)
5. Switch to Decaf
Liberal caffeine consumption, approximately 500 mg, has the potential to spike blood pressure by 4 mmHg. Imagine the effects of stress: heart racing, blood pumping faster than normal, etc. This is precisely what caffeine can do to the body. Coffee lovers with high blood pressure would be wise to switch to decaf.
6. Drink Tea
Boil some water, select a bag and start steeping. Tea is one of the best natural remedies for high blood pressure. It’s one blood pressure lowering method that gives instead of takes away from patients. Tufts University conducted research showing individuals who consumed three cups of hibiscus tea over six weeks lowered blood pressure by 7mmhg, which compares to the effectiveness of some medications. Other teas useful for lowering blood pressure are green tea, nettle tea, and java tea.
7. Stay Away from Tobacco
Many health hazards are already widely associated with tobacco use, and high blood pressure is another one of tobacco’s dangerous repercussions. The nicotine in tobacco is largely responsible for this effect; it is capable of raising blood pressure by 10 mmHg.
8. Find Ways to Decrease Stress
Whether it’s cutting back hours at the office or going to bed thirty minutes earlier, reducing sources of stress contributes to lower blood pressure. Working longer hours means less time to eat healthy and exercise. Pinpoint what causes stress and start working to control your thoughts, actions and habits surrounding specific practices and commitments.
9. Be Dedicated to Monitoring Blood Pressure
Ask your provider to help you develop a good strategy for watching your blood pressure regularly at home. Identify a good time of the day, the right equipment and start watching results happen. Continue visiting your provider to ensure the best results.
Schedule An Appointment to Learn More
Lowering blood pressure requires commitment, but the steps are quite simple. Your health care team at The Mollen Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ, will work with you to develop a blood pressure-lowering plan that’s geared toward your lifestyle. To schedule an appointment, call our Scottsdale office at 480-656-0016.