High blood pressure is a dangerous health condition that can damage your heart. Often, there are no prior signs or symptoms, but it is a major cause of heart problems. If left uncontrolled or untreated, high blood pressure raises the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases.
This is especially true in the U.S., where it affects one in three people, and is the major cause of death. Fortunately, the good news is that by making significant changes to your lifestyle, you can lower your blood pressure and that too without requiring medications.
If you’ve been diagnosed with blood pressure problems and are worried about taking strong medications, then make these simple lifestyle changes and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Some of the best ways to control blood pressure naturally
1) Cut down on your sodium intake
Cutting down on your salt and sodium intake will potentially improve your cardiovascular system and remove excess water from your body. You should consume no more than 1,500mg of salt per day. Foods like readymade soups, pizza, frozen items, and bread are all high in sodium, and you would be wise to avoid these.
2) Lose excess weight
One of the best ways to control blood pressure is by losing weight. As your weight increases, so does your blood pressure. Being overweight causes breathing issues while you sleep, which then results in high blood pressure.
You don’t need to aim for major weight loss to make a difference in your situation. Shedding even a small amount of weight — as little as 10 pounds — can help lower your blood pressure.
3) Physical activity
Exercise is an effective way to control your blood pressure. Regular workouts help improve the functioning of your heart and makes it more efficient at pumping blood throughout your body, thereby lowering the blood pressure in your arteries.
Even a few minutes of moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk, or vigorous exercises like aerobics or running can help lower blood pressure to a great extent. Other than exercise, some other physical activities that you can include in your everyday routine are:
- Using the stairs instead of the elevator
- Walking instead of taking any transportation
- Pet walking
- Household chores, such as vacuuming or doing the dishes
4) Consume more potassium-rich foods
Consuming foods rich in potassium can also control your blood pressure. Potassium helps lessen the effects of sodium in your system and provides relief to your blood vessels, thereby controlling your blood pressure.
Some potassium-rich foods that you can include in your diet are:
- Fruits, such as avocados, bananas, and apricots
- Dairy foods with low fat, such as yogurt and milk.
- Vegetables, such as potatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, and greens
Warning: If you have an ongoing kidney problem, then consult your doctor before increasing your potassium intake as potassium-rich foods might not be good for people suffering from kidney disease.
5) Take less stress and meditate
Stress is one of the major causes of high blood pressure. Stress hormones restrict your blood vessels and raise blood pressure. Over time, excessive stress can result in unhealthy habits and put your heart at risk. Unhealthy habits harmful to your cardiovascular health include poor sleep, alcohol and drugs, and overeating.
For all these reasons, managing stress should be at the top of your list if you are looking to control your high blood pressure.
6) Control the intake of processed foods
Excessive salt in your diet does not come from your salt shaker, but mostly from packaged and processed foods. Some popular, highly processed and salty foods that you should avoid include:
- Cheese items
- Canned soups
- Street foods
Cutting down on these foods will surely help you eat less sugar, salt, and less-refined carbohydrates, and all of this can help lead to healthy cardiovascular functioning.
A large population of the world is affected by high blood pressure. While medicine is one way to limit these conditions, making natural lifestyle changes can be beneficial too. Controlling your blood pressure with the help of the lifestyle changes mentioned in this article may help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.