10 Proven Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
By nature, your blood pressure rises and drops throughout the day. However, if your blood pressure stays high for a long amount of time, it can damage your heart and lead to other health problems. This is known as high blood pressure, or hypertension.
According to the latest guidelines provided in 2017, someone with hypertension has a blood pressure at or above 130/80 mm Hg. Stage two hypertension is when the blood pressure rating is at or above 140/90 mm Hg.
High blood pressure is one of the most common health conditions in the U.S. In fact, nearly half of all adults, over 108 million, have hypertension or are taking medication for the condition.
Here's what you need to know about hypertension, including the causes, risks, and how to lower blood pressure to a healthy level.
What causes high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is classified into two different types: primary and secondary. Primary hypertension in adults usually has no identifiable cause. It develops gradually over the years and is likely to be caused by a variety of risk factors, including:
Most people with hypertension have primary hypertension. There is no direct cause, but instead several risk factors that likely contribute to the condition.
Secondary hypertension is when the condition is caused by an underlying condition. It often appears suddenly and causes higher blood pressure levels than primary hypertension. There are many conditions that can cause secondary high blood pressure, including:
Certain medications, such as birth control pills, over-the-counter pain relievers, decongestants, and prescription drugs can also cause secondary hypertension.
Top 10 ways to lower blood pressure
If you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension, or if you simply want to decrease your risk of being diagnosed, there are many things you can do. Lifestyle changes play a huge role in your likelihood of having high blood pressure.
Here are 10 ways to lower blood pressure.
1. Maintain a healthy weight
As your weight increases, so does your blood pressure. One of the most effective ways to control blood pressure is by losing weight. Even losing a small amount of weight can have a measurable impact on your blood pressure.
Typically, for every 2.2 pounds you lose, your blood pressure drops by 1 mm Hg.
2. Eat a healthy diet
What you eat directly impacts your wellbeing, especially heart health. Ideally you want to eat a diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. Avoid foods that are high in cholesterol and saturated fat, as they’re known to increase blood pressure.
Be mindful of what you eat and do your best to minimize junk and processed food as much as possible. This doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge in your favorite foods every so often. Moderation is key.
3. Reduce sodium consumption
Are you someone who puts salt on everything? Sodium and high blood pressure go hand-in-hand. Try to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension.
You should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. The less, the better. To reduce the amount of sodium in your diet:
Using other spices and herbs is another great way to keep your food tasting great without reaching for the salt shaker.
4. Take potassium
Eating high-potassium foods, such as melons, avocado, coconut water, and bananas can counteract the effects of sodium. These foods may even reduce the risk of elevated blood pressure from worsening into hypertension.
While potassium supplements are also an option, they aren't as effective as eating high-potassium foods. Instead, begin your day with a delicious coconut water banana smoothie!
5. Cut back on caffeine
Coffee and other caffeinated beverages do offer some health benefits. However, lowering blood pressure isn’t one of them. In fact, caffeine can cause short-term spikes in blood pressure, even in those with a healthy blood pressure reading.
For those with hypertension, drink no more than two cups of coffee a day. For some people, drinking coffee or other high-caffeine beverages can increase their blood pressure by 5 to 10 mm Hg.
6. Limit alcohol consumption
In terms of blood pressure, alcohol can be both good and bad. It all comes down to how much and how often you drink. If you’re someone who has one or two drinks a day, alcohol may actually lower your blood pressure.
On the flip side, drinking more than a moderate amount of alcohol will raise your blood pressure. Alcohol can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
7. Quit smoking
Smoking is known to increase blood pressure, even minutes after your last puff. If you’re a smoker, quitting is an effective way of helping your blood pressure return to a healthy level.
Not smoking also offers a wide range of other health benefits, including a healthier heart and lungs and the lowered risk of a premature death.
8. Exercise regularly
Exercising about 30 minutes a day 5-7 days a week can have a huge impact on your blood pressure. The good news is that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym running on the treadmill. Exercise should be enjoyable and relaxing.
Consider activities such as:
Your exercise program doesn’t have to be exhausting. What’s most important is that you move throughout the day and get your heart pumping on a routine basis.
9. Reduce stress levels
Chronic stress can be detrimental to your health. It’s also one of the leading contributors to high blood pressure. While life can get stressful, it’s important to find ways to relax and unwind.
Change your mindset and let go of things that you cannot control. Avoid triggers that cause you to become stressed. There are many proven stress-relieving activities, including breathing exercises, reading, listening to calming music, or taking a walk outside.
10. Chiropractic Care
This might be surprising to many, but a relatively recent study showed that chiropractic care can actually help to lower blood pressure naturally.
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We don't answer the "what," but the "why."
Interested in our services? Contact us today to learn how we can help you get back to leading a normal, healthy life.