High blood pressure calls for taking medications, as many people have readings that are too high to be considered ‘slightly abnormal’. However, pills are not the only way to treat hypertension. Changing your lifestyle can have a profound effect on your health, including the parameter in question. Here are the measures you can take to manage your high blood pressure – or prevent it from becoming so.
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The first thing you should do if your blood pressure is often elevated is to consult a professional. It is only after their recommendations that you can take any medications, because every case is different. As far as non-pharmaceutical treatment is concerned, there is quite a lot you can do, and the effect it may have is usually greater than most people imagine.
#1. Overhaul your diet
Reevaluate your approach to nutrition. There are types of food you should ditch and the ones you should focus on. The latter include whole grains, vegetables, nuts, fruits, and fatty fish. Low-fat dairy products are also an option, but limiting their intake is a good idea, as they are usually high in calories, and putting on weight is to be avoided. As to foods that should be excluded from your menu, these include foods rich in cholesterol and saturated fats. In this day and age, everyone knows what unhealthy food is, so getting rid of it is the first step to better blood pressure.
Try to eat more foods that contain a lot of potassium, as it is capable of lessening the effects sodium has on blood pressure. It does not mean that you can compensate for high sodium intake this way, though – it just won’t work.
#2. Cut down on salt
Too much sodium in the body causes water retention, which in its turn results in higher pressure on blood vessels. It may be difficult to eat unsalted food for those who are used to being generous when using seasoning, but it is really an effective measure you should consider – either for prevention or as part of treatment of hypertension. You can make dishes more palatable by adding herbs and garlic – the latter is also known to have a wide range of health benefits, including positive effects on the cardiovascular system!
#3. Exercise regularly
Maintaining a decent level of exercise (which is around 30 mins of physical activity daily or at least on most week days) is another measure that is known to contribute to cardiovascular health. Opt for aerobic exercises. Among these are cycling, swimming, jogging, etc. HIIT can be just as good an option as long walks, but ask your doctor first whether such high-intensity exercises are good for you. This approach will bring stress relief and help you shed extra pounds – both contribute to healthy blood pressure.
These are the basic lifestyle changes which can help you prevent hypertension or lower your blood pressure if it’s already elevated.
For faster relief, you can also try the following:
- Practice deep breathing. This is a ‘mode’ of breathing which helps you relax, and breathing with your abdomen rising can help you achieve slightly better readings.
- Drink tea with peppermint. Studies show that menthol can reduce blood pressure, but the evidence is limited and applies only to rats. Perhaps it could be beneficial in humans too.
- Buy some apple cider vinegar and make it part of your diet. It won’t bring you immediate relief, but it has a number of benefits for blood pressure, such as lower cholesterol and blood glucose.
It is worthy of note that consulting a professional is a must if your blood pressure is elevated, because even if you have no symptoms, it remains a very dangerous condition which requires management. If you have been prescribed medications, it does not mean you can dismiss lifestyle changes as unneeded: by adopting them, you can lower your blood pressure to reduce medication doses.
10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication – mayoclinic.org
Using Apple Cider Vinegar to Help Lower Blood Pressure – healthline.com