high blood pressure (HBP), is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. Lifestyle changes and medications can lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of health complications. Below are ways to control high blood pressure.
Start the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet.
Dietary approaches to stop hypertension diet means piling on the whole foods/grains, fruits and veggies, low-fat dairy and skipping the sugar, saturated fat and cholesterol. This diet has been shown to reduce blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg. Basically, you’ll be cutting out red meat, junk food, and white carbs (including “white” sugar, flour, noodles and potatoes…). You don’t have to go cold turkey, but the foods mentioned above should make up the vast majority of your diet.
Reduce your sodium intake
Limit your sodium to about 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day. An easy way to cut out the salt is to skip on the processed foods; when you prepare your own food, you know just what goes into it. Don’t add salt to your foods! If that’s an issue for you, start cutting back gradually. Believe it or not, your palate will adjust with time.
Increase your potassium, magnesium, and calcium levels
These three nutrients have been linked to low levels of blood pressure in multiple studies. While calcium and magnesium aren’t linked to technically lowering high blood pressure (like potassium is), they are linked to low blood pressure in general.
Potassium (the most potent of the three) is found in fruits, veggies, dairy, and fish. Calcium is found in dairy products (go for the low-fat kind) and magnesium is found in whole grains, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and dry peas and beans. For all three of these, if you have a healthy diet, you don’t need to take a supplement. Having extra isn’t beneficial to your system.
Switch out coffee for tea
Not only is there less caffeine in tea (which constricts blood vessels), but it can lower blood pressure on a permanent basis. A recent study at Tufts University worked with Hibiscus tea. It lowered patients’ levels by 7 points — just like a medication! A lot of herbal teas have hibiscus in them, but look for ones that have it toward the top of the ingredient list for a more potent mix.
Check your blood pressure regularly
Get cholesterol and other readings (possibly at public health clinics or health fairs) and see your medical professional regularly to assess any cardiovascular and other health issues discovered. The more proactive you are, the better grip you’ll have on the issue. If you are taking your blood pressure at home, make sure you’re doing it correctly.
Watch your weight
As your weight increases, chances are your blood pressure and related heart-stresses are increasing too. Just a loss of ten pounds can show you a decrease in your blood pressure levels. Consult your doctor on a healthy target weight.
Exercise 30-60 minutes almost every day of the week
Apart from losing that excess weight, regular cardio exercise can significantly lower your blood pressure within weeks. Even making small efforts helps. Squeezing in a 15 minute walk before work is definitely better than nothing. You don’t have to get your workout in all in one go. Having an active lifestyle is all about finding small ways to get moving. It doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym.
Limit your alcohol intake
In small amounts, alcohol can lower your blood pressure slightly. However, drinking in moderate amounts can exacerbate your hypertension. Men younger than 65 can get away with 2 drinks a day, but everyone else should stick to 1. Know what “one drink” really means. That’s five ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof hard liquor. And if you don’t drink, definitely don’t start to reap the one-drink benefits!
Reduce your stress
Stress and anxiety is one of the major causes of high blood pressure. Take time to think about what is stressing you and how you can solve the problem to alleviate your hypertension. You can read on how to reduce stress.
Take a supplement or other blood pressure medication
This is something that should only be done upon the advice of your doctor. Diuretics and beta-blockers are two of the most common that your doctor may recommend. Diuretics dispel excess salt and toxins from your body and beta blockers slow your heart rate down. As for supplements, though they can be taken with the best of intentions, they’re not always good ideas. Talk to your doctor beforehand before taking anything.
Make regular doctor appointments
Depending on how high your blood pressure is and its consistency, your appointment frequency will vary from those of another person. Find a doctor and stick with him/her. When your doctor knows you well, he/she can better treat you. The more they’re familiar with your history, the easier it will be to get you on a path to lower numbers.