In a large number of cases of hypertension, we are the cause. Even when the cause is genetic or age, we can lower high blood pressure without medication.
Of course, if your doctor says that you need to take your prescription, you should listen to them. However, you should also supplement your therapy with a lifestyle change as well.
Here are 10 things that you can do today to lower hypertension.
Stress has a physical impact on our bodies, one of the damages being high blood pressure. There are several things that you can do for long term stress management, but right now you can breathe.
Slow breathing can help clear your mind, lower your heart rate and anxiety levels. Long term, it also helps us control our fight or flight instincts, which is what stress is. If you want to go on a journey and find out all the benefits you can reap from breathing exercises, start with this video:
But, if you don’t feel like doing any homework right now, you can check out some guided breathing exercises to get you started:
We are meant to move. We are not supposed to live sedentary lifestyles and it’s doing way more to our bodies than growing our muffin tops. One of those being messing with our cardiovascular health.
I am not telling you to hit a gym. Just stand up. Walk. Dance around the living room. Play with your kids and grandkids. It’s that simple.
For cardiovascular health, we need only ten minutes of mid or high impact cardio. So, do a short fitness video or walk up some stairs.
And simply go for a walk. There is a good reason why everyone says that walking is the best exercise. Do it inside or outside, at your pace, alone or with friends, listen to music or nature… It doesn’t matter. Just aim to spend as much of your day not sitting down.
A good way to tell if your weight is a problem is to take a look at your midsection. If you have way more than just some padding, it’s time to get in touch with Houston.
When you start to collect fat in your belly, some of it is called visceral fat. Visceral fat wraps around your organs and prevents them from working properly. Visceral fat also raises your blood pressure sky high.
Aim to lose the extra pounds through a healthy diet and exercise routine. Crash diets will do more harm than good. Not only are you more likely to lose water and muscle and very little fat, but the yo-yo dieting effect will also inflate your hypertension.
You’ve probably heard it before, but that nicotine habit is wrecking your body. In the case of hypertension, every time you light a cigarette, you raise your blood pressure for twice the time it takes you to finish it.
The trick to breaking bad habits is to replace them with good ones. So, why not use your craving for cigarettes as a cue to do something better?
Want to smoke? Go for a walk. Want to smoke? Complete a lesson on Duolingo. Want to smoke? Eat broccoli…
Ditch the Booze
Getting those couple of drinks with your friends after work is not the end of the world, but will temporarily raise blood pressure even in perfectly healthy people. Regular consumption of alcohol will only make the problem worse.
If a glass of good wine brings you joy or there is an important to toast to, as said, not the end of the world. But in general, avoid alcohol, but when you drink, drink until you’re… sober.
Watch the Salt
Ideally, you should consume 1,500 mg a day or less of sodium a day. You probably get up to twice as much.
Even the smallest changes in the amounts of salt we consume could do amazing things to our cardiovascular health.
The easiest way to deal with this is to stop eating prepackaged food. If you are not ready for that step, at least learn how to read the labels properly. Even if an item claims that it’s low sodium, check if it’s low sodium for an imaginary serving or for the amount you will end up eating.
Limit the Java
Though it’s still debatable how much caffeine impacts chronic high blood pressure, if your doctor said to nix it, do so.
If you can’t do without coffee, and decaf makes you want to weep – find the middle point. There is no law out there that says you are not allowed to mix the beans so you can give your cup of decaf a nicer flavour.
Or you can skip your regular city roasts and go French or Italian. Darker coffee roasts have less caffeine in them, and an espresso shot pack that much punch only because it is super concentrated. Get yourself a French press and join the dark side.
Green tea is probably one of the healthiest beverages you can consume. Next to the numerous health benefits, studies show that it may help lower high blood pressure.
It contains caffeine, so you should check with your doctor if you are on a strict no-caffeine regime. That being said, the way green tea is caffeinating you is less like a punch to the face and a lot gentler on your blood pressure, so it’s a perfect replacement for your regular cup of Joe.
Know how to prep it so you get all that goodness – brew it at the correct temperature and the correct time. Japanese green tea likes to be at 160F to 170F, and the Chinese should be brewed at 170F to 180F. Teabags take only 1-2 minutes, while leaves take about 3 minutes for the perfect extraction.
You can also cold brew your green tea. This way you can completely avoid those soapy notes that come from tannin without micromanaging the brewing process. Use the same ratio of leaves to liquid as if you would use hot water. Teabags will take only a couple of hours, and whole leaves will take about 12 hours in the fridge.
Add some lemon juice for some citrusy freshness and extra antioxidant boost.
You already have them in your cupboard or, if you don’t, it won’t break your budget to stock up. Oats are rich in fibre, and one of those is called beta-glucan. Since the turn of the century, many studies have shown that this guy can help lower high blood pressure.
Oats are a perfect breakfast food since you can prep them in so many ways. You can leave them overnight in the fridge with some yoghurt and fruit, cook them on the stove or bake them into breakfast bars, or simply throw them into microwave:
There’s a lot of beta-glucan in oat milk as well, so consider picking up a carton, or make your own:
Stress is a normal part of life, but too much of it will cause hypertension. As mentioned, breathing and exercise will help alleviate it, but a more optimistic outlook on life can do wonders for your health as well.
Practice gratitude. It takes so little for us to neglect all the good things in our lives. Take a few moments in the morning to think of some things in your life you are grateful for.
Laugh. Laugh with friends and family, watch a comedy show or a YouTube video of cats riding Rumbas. Do whatever you can to make yourself laugh as often as possible because laughter is the best medicine.
Help others. We do charity out of selfishness. We want to live in a world where if we are in a bad situation, some would give us a hand. Also, since we are social animals, our brains get very happy when we are helping others.