High blood pressure is a very serious medical problem that one in three Americans will have to deal with in their lifetime. Those who know me best know that I lost my mother to hypertension when I was young, so this article is written in the hopes that it might help save a life. As we continue into the New Year, I’d like to share some natural methods for lowering and maintaining your blood pressure.
Maintain a Healthy Weight – Keeping your weight at a healthy level is often times one of the first things a doctor will recommend if you show signs of an increase in blood pressure. Your BMI (Body Mass Index) should kept below 25 in order to help mitigate your risk of hypertension.
Exercise – The second recommendation commonly given by doctors in regards to this matter is a regular exercise regimen. Exercising for a minimum 2.5 hours per week can significantly decrease elevated BP and help to keep it under control. If making time for the gym is challenge due to your schedule, consider waking up earlier in the morning to get a quick 30-minute session in before you hit the shower.
Watch what you eat – A number of people, who suffer from High Blood Pressure, were victims of an imbalanced diet. For example, the recommended limit of 2,300 milligrams (about a teaspoon) a day for salt is something very few people know and even fewer heed. Excessive amounts of salt in a persons diet is frequently a main contributor to them having issues with their blood pressure. In fact, some physicians believe that this is part of the reason why smokers suffer from the disease. Smoking by itself causes a short lived increase in BP, but the deadening of a smokers taste buds often leads to them adding additional salt to their meals. On the other hand, there are foods that have a positive impact on your blood pressure. A diet consisting of foods that are high in calcium, magnesium, and antioxidants, contributes greatly to lowering blood pressure. Food rich in potassium, which can help blunt the impact of any sodium you consume, is also helpful. People who regularly consume probiotics, bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented foods, see their systolic blood pressure reduced an average of 3.6 points, and their diastolic reduced 2.4 points.
Keep yourself in check – Monitoring your BP at home is a synch thanks to modern technology. Home based BP monitors range from $25 to $70 and can be bought at just about any place that sells pharmaceuticals such as Target, CVS and Walgreens. Checking your own BP on your own gives you a sense of control and allows you to get a more accurate feel for what causes your BP to fluctuate. Check you level at the start and finish of each day to see where the levels have the most variance and note what you did and what you ate those days.
Kick the habit – As a former smoker myself, I can attest to how hard it is to quit the habit. As I said before, smoking causes acute increases in a person’s blood pressure. Smoking doesn’t necessarily cause high blood pressure, but for someone who already has it, lighting up can turn a bad situation worse. There are tons of ways to quit: nicotine gum, patches, vaping, homeopathic methods and of course cold turkey. The latter was my path to quitting. I had smoked throughout my entire military career and when I got out I decided to give it up for several reasons. At its core, that’s what the main factor is in how successful you are in your effort to quit. A solid tangible reason will give you a goal to strive for, in my case it was because my fiancée was asthmatic and because I wanted to improve my singing voice. Just quitting for the sack of quitting is difficult because we don’t have anything driving us. Lowering your BP and wanting to live healthy is a great reason, and using the home-based monitor will show you the results of your efforts. Just be careful about what you replace that hand to mouth habit with. Snacking to replace smoking is a bit counter productive if your snack of choice is bag of salty, chips. Sunflower seeds, almonds, grapes, berries and other bite-sized health foods are a much better choice in this regard.
Keep Calm and lower your BP – Relax. One thing that I cannot stress enough is to not stress so much. I posted an article in November regarding the effects of stress and ways to manage it. For those who are constantly on the move, I’ve found this method to be the most appropriate. Get a bottle of orange or lemon essential oil and dab a handkerchief with it, the scent will help keep you relaxed. Also keep some music with you and a pair of headphones to tune in your favorite songs while tuning out your stressors. If you’re able to take a solid 10 minutes, you should look into brain entrainment. Brain entrainment is the use of specific frequencies to induce a change in brain chemistry. I use two entrainment tracks every other day, focus and relaxation. There are tons of apps and soundscape albums on Amazon designed specifically for helping you manage your BP.
Catch some rays – Many of us have said at one point or another that our jobs are killing us. Well if you work in an enclosed space with no sun exposure, you might not be far off. Lack of sun exposure leads to a deficiency in Vitamin D, as the sun is our primary source. Low Vitamin D equals high BP, and while many office spaces of been fitted with skylights, it simply not enough. Direct sun exposure allows you to absorb an abundant amount of Vitamin D and according to some researchers it also triggers a chemical reaction that causes blood vessels to widen, thus lowering your blood pressure even more.
Here’s to a healthy and happy year. Know of any other way to keep your blood pressure down? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe to Yagoli.com