How to lower blood pressure without medication
Lifestyle changes are effective in reducing high blood pressure
Here are 10 ways to control blood pressure without medications:
- Weight loss: Obesity can increase the risk of high blood pressure. Weight loss has been the most effective way of reducing blood pressure. Even losing 10 pounds can lower blood pressure. Besides losing weight, one should generally focus on abdominal fat. Men having a waist measurement above 40 inch and women having waist measurement above 35 inches are at risk of high blood pressure.
- DASH diet: A program called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is advised for control and prevention of high blood pressure. It advises cutting away high-fat foods, processed foods, and sugar and salt-containing foods; avoiding excess salt for dressing and excess caffeinated drinks such as coffee and energy drinks; and focusing on fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and high fiber and high calcium food.
- Daily exercise: Daily exercise is an excellent way to lose fat and reduce high blood pressure. Exercising daily for 30 minutes can bring down the blood pressure by about five to eight mm Hg. Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or dancing are the most effective ways of controlling blood pressure. Meditation and stress relaxing techniques can also help.
- Reduce sodium intake: Most Americans consume about 3400 mg of sodium a day, whereas the recommended daily intake of sodium is 2300 mg, with an optimal limit of less than 1500 mg for those with high blood pressure. Avoid keeping salt at the table for sprinkling over food and eating salted nuts and chips.
- Read labels: Labels reveals a lot. Read labels for high sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol value, which can contribute to the risk of high blood pressure. Processed foods, prepackaged foods, and restaurant foods contain the highest amount of sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Be a smart shopper and avoid foods that contain a high amount of sodium, saturated fats, and cholesterol.
- Increase potassium intake: Add more potassium to the diet because it regulates the heart rate and nullifies the effect of the sodium in the body. Before incorporating these foods into the diet, consult your physician for the right amount of potassium to be taken. Patients with significant kidney disease should restrict the amount of potassium. Potassium-rich foods are as follows:
- Fruits such as papaya, orange, melons, avocadoes, and apricots
- Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale
- Vegetables such as potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Tuna and salmon
- Nuts and seeds
- Abstain from heavy alcohol drinking: Alcohol in moderation may not cause much harm to the body. However, three drinks in one sitting can increase blood pressure temporarily. The general guidelines for moderate drinking are as follows:
- Two drinks a day for men younger than 65 years
- One drink a day for men aged 65 years and older
- One drink a day for women of any age
- Quit smoking: Cigarette smoking can increase blood pressure. Cutting down on smoking helps the blood pressure return to normal. It also helps in preventing the risk of heart diseases and improves overall health.
- Avoid excess stress: Stress hormones or cortisol constrict the blood vessels and can lead to temporary spikes in blood pressure. Stress can also result in overeating, poor sleep, and misusing drugs and alcohol. Stress-relieving meditations and breathing techniques can help in mitigating stress.
- Control the risk factors: Uncontrolled diabetes can make it harder to keep blood pressure under control. Hence, controlling diabetes and other risk factors is of utmost importance. Taking the prescription medicines at given doses and at given times is important. Regular monitoring of blood pressure at home is also advised.