Is your blood pressure reading higher than normal? Don’t worry. You can make certain simple lifestyle changes to bring it back to normal levels naturally. Lifestyle choices such as less physical activity and unhealthy food habits have a significant role in causing high blood pressure.
When you move to a healthy lifestyle, it is absolutely possible to stay in the normal blood pressure range without medications. Read on to know some practical tips that are both simple and doable to lower your blood pressure naturally.
BP values chart
Do you know what normal blood pressure is and what is considered high? Here is an infographic that shows the normal, elevated, and high blood pressure range.
When your blood pressure is elevated, be warned and choose healthy lifestyle choices. When it is high, you must visit a doctor and take his advice. He might prescribe some medications along with lifestyle changes.
The following are some lifestyle changes to follow to lower and maintain your blood pressure at normal levels.
1. Dietary changes
The importance of eating a healthy and balanced diet cannot be stressed enough, it is the key to good health, and there are no shortcuts. Diet plays an important role not only in maintaining good health but also in prevention and correcting health issues. And the same applies to dealing with high blood pressure as well. In fact, dietary changes are one of the most important aspects of lowering blood pressure.
–> Reduce Sodium intake in your diet
More salt is one of the main culprits in shooting your blood pressure high! Consuming more sodium will cause your body to hold more water to wash away the salt. This can put more burden on your heart, increasing your blood pressure.
Salt is the main source of sodium in our diet, so review your daily salt intake. If you consume more than a teaspoon of salt in a day, it is best you reduce it.
You might find it hard to achieve this limit if your diet consists of processed foods and ready to eat meals. This includes our everyday cereals, bread, salty snacks such as chips, instant noodles, etc., the kind of foods that most of us tend to consume without thinking twice.
Tip: To reduce salt while cooking, reduce your spice (chilli spice) levels as well. This will automatically help limit the salt you need to achieve the desired taste. Also, experiment using other flavourful herbs and spices to make your meals tasty even with less salt. You might find it hard initially, but over time your palate will adjust, so no worries there.
–> Other changes to your diet
- A diet consisting of whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables is heart-healthy and can help lower your blood pressure readings.
- Cut back on sugar and refined carbs, the two changes that can significantly help reduce lowering blood pressure.
- Potassium, calcium, and magnesium help relax the walls of the blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure. So, consciously ensure you get enough of these minerals from your diet and if you are not getting enough, up the intake.
- In the case of those sensitive to caffeine, reducing caffeine intake can help lower blood pressure. But, in general, anyone looking to reduce blood pressure levels can limit caffeine and switch to other beverages like healthy teas such as ginger tea, green tea, oolong tea or a cup of hot cacao.
–> Cook your meals
If you are keen on reducing your blood pressure levels, it is best to cook your own meals so that you can control what goes into the food.
–> Limiting alcohol intake
Limiting alcohol to one drink a day and quitting smoking will also help manage blood pressure levels effectively in the long run, as these are yet other key lifestyle changes to prevent numerous other health issues.
If such dietary guidelines appear too generic and you find it hard to apply the changes, you can consider consulting a nutritionist/dietician to help you plan your meals so that you are off to a good start and stay on track. If necessary, they will also help you with supplements, which is safer when taken under expert guidance.
2. Reduce weight
Obese people most likely suffer from high blood pressure. Studies show that even a modest decrease in weight (about 5%) can significantly reduce blood pressure.
Especially, abdominal obesity, which is too much weight around your waist, increases your risk of high blood pressure. Generally, men with a waist measurement greater than 40 inches and women with a waist measurement greater than 35 inches have an increased risk of high blood pressure. So, get on the scales and aim for a healthy weight.
Note: Waistline measurements vary according to ethnicity. Talk to your doctor for optimal waistline measurement.
3. Exercise regularly
Exercising is an important lifestyle change necessary to solve the hypertension problem. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 40-minute sessions of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity three to four times per week.
The simple way to try out various exercises is to join a fitness centre that provides access to many different types of exercise classes such as aerobics, dance fitness, swimming, etc. You can also try mind-body practices such as yoga and tai chi classes. You can also mix it up to keep exercising interesting!
Furthermore, you can easily weave a bit more exercise into your routine by adopting simple changes such as taking the stairs instead of elevators, walking instead of driving to nearby places, playing a sport or riding a bike with your friends and family.
Adopting this change will also help reduce weight which is linked to lower blood pressure levels. Exercising will also help you get quality sleep, enabling you to control hypertension better.
4. Learn to manage stress
Constantly stressed out can negatively impact your health and is one of the leading contributing factors for high blood pressure. But, there is no running away from everyday stressors. Learning to manage effectively is the key.
There are many ways to manage stress efficiently. Simple activities include listening to music, dancing to a favourite tune, reading a book, enjoying a comedy show, practising deep breathing, and more. Literally, the choices are endless, and all you have to do is find out what works for you the best, the one thing or those couple of things that help you relax.
Also, make sure you get quality sleep every night. There is no better way to feel well-rested. An average adult needs 7 to 9 hrs of sleep, and outside this range is associated with a higher probability of hypertension.
Acupuncture treatment effectively lowers blood pressure safely, even in those who have significantly elevated blood pressure readings. So, if you have access to a trained acupuncture therapist, make an appointment. The treatment plan would involve regular visits to regulate blood pressure levels. So, you can consider incorporating acupuncture as a part of your overall plan to manage blood pressure levels naturally and sustain them in the long term.
6. Monitor blood pressure
Last but not least, monitor your blood pressure at home regularly to make sure you are heading in the right direction. Once you reach normal levels, continue to monitor at regular intervals to manage hypertension effectively.
The bottom line
It takes commitment to reduce and manage blood sugar levels naturally. Make sure you are able to stick to the lifestyle changes you have made without stressing yourself out. Trying to do it all at once might not work. Instead, pace it out and add the changes slowly one by one, see how you feel, how your body reacts, notice the subtle changes and take it forward.
If you have any other health conditions, check with your doctor on how these changes might impact you before you embark on making these lifestyle changes. And, if your blood pressure is very high and does not respond to these natural solutions, it is time you discuss medications with your doctor to avoid complications associated with hypertension.