Hypertension is often the gateway to heart disease, stroke and other health problems and should thus be counteracted as soon as possible to avoid further complications.
High blood pressure (HBP) readings usually start at a minimum of 140/90, and there are simple lifestyle changes you can make to get it down to a healthy range (approximately 120/80). Of course, lifestyle changes alone may not be sufficient to lower blood pressure, especially in extreme cases, but they can be an incredible start and a permanent cure in the long term.
Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
1. Exercise Regularly. Just 20-30 minutes of physical activity a day, three times a week, will go a long way in regulating blood pressure. As your body gets stronger, develops more stamina, and you drop a few pounds, your heart will also get stronger and require less effort to pump blood throughout your body. As a result, your blood pressure will go down.
2. Monitor Sodium Intake. Some HBP patients are affected by the amount of salt they ingest, while others are totally unfazed. It’s good, then, to monitor how your body responds to salt. If reducing your salt intake lowers your BP, then that’s a good strategy for you. It’s a good idea to maintain moderate levels of sodium anyway, since high sodium is also attributed to other health conditions. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends a maximum of 1.25 teaspoons of salt daily.
3. Reduce Fat Intake. Too much fat in your diet, especially the bad kinds, like saturated fat, clogs your arteries and keeps blood pressure elevated. Good fats like those found in nuts, certain oils, and fish are beneficial to your heart.
4. Increase Potassium Intake. Potassium balances sodium levels in the body and, thus, blood pressure. However, the effects of potassium supplements are too volatile and unpredictable to use for this purpose. Healthy doses of dietary potassium can be acquired by eating fruits and veggies like bananas, oranges, and potatoes.
5. Eat More Fruits and Veggies. Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (including potassium) that fight disease, clear blockages, regulate the body’s systems and heal the body.
6. Try Nature’s Other Hypertension Remedies. Your diet should include as many herbs, vitamins and minerals as possible, particularly those that work to regulate HBP, including the following: vitamins C, D and E; lycopene (found largely in tomatoes); fish oil; coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10); Hawthorne extract; olive leaf extract; garlic; parsley; and buchu.
7. Quit Smoking and Drinking Alcohol. Smoking and drinking alcohol in excess are known to elevate blood pressure. Smoking constricts blood vessels and makes the heart work harder. Alcohol stresses and damages the heart too. One or two glasses of wine per day is okay.
Doctor-Assisted Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
Though natural remedies are always the best way to go to avoid side effects and long-term consequences, extreme cases or acute spikes in blood pressure usually call for physician intervention. Doctors may prescribe high blood pressure medications to lower BP or maintain safe levels. Some patients may require inpatient heart monitoring, very strict diets or even corrective heart surgery.