Are you one of 108 million American adults suffering from high blood pressure?
(Yes, that’s a VERY real number—according to the CDC, nearly half the U.S. adult population has high blood pressure!)
High blood pressure can lead to all kinds of internal health problems: from weakened arterial walls to higher risk of strokes and heart attacks to organ problems to sexual dysfunction (say what?!). The longer it goes untreated, the worse things will get inside your body.
Time to get treating!
There are a lot of things you can do that will help you lower your blood pressure naturally, without the need for medications. Try these tricks to get your blood pressure back under control the natural way:
I know, I know, easier said than done, right?
For busy professionals, it can be incredibly difficult to find time to fit in exercise around your busy home and work life.
But it’s critical for lowering blood pressure!
Just 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise PER WEEK is enough to lower your blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health significantly.
Shoot for at least 30 minutes of exercise per weekday—with a bit more on the weekends, if you can fit it in—and you’ll make serious strides of progress toward controlling that blood pressure.
Sugar that your body can’t immediately use as energy gets turned into body fat to store. The same goes for carbs. Both sugar and carbs add to your waistline, and that excess fat only raises your blood pressure more.
Time to cut it out!
Cut out sugar and unnecessary carbs (anything white, refined, processed, or containing added sugar), and you’ll notice visible improvements in both your waistline and your blood pressure readings.
Stick with a high-protein, high-veggie, increased-fat diet, and steer clear of anything too starchy, grainy, wheat-y, or sweet-y.
Sodium is one of the primary contributors to high blood pressure. Simply put, it causes your body to retain extra water, which forces your heart to pump extra hard to send enough nutrients and oxygen to your muscles, organs, and tissues.
Sodium is found in just about every packaged, processed, and prepared food—it’s a potent flavor ingredient, as well as a preservative.
The simple way to cut back on sodium: eat raw.
Cook all your food from scratch—no cans, bottles, boxes, or packages—using raw ingredients. Stick with low-sodium flavorings, and avoid any food that is flavored and deliciously salty.
When cooking, try seasoning with herbs and spices, and limit the amount of salt you put in your food. Your blood pressure will thank you!
Potassium and sodium are the two electrolytes that maintain the fluid balance in your body. When cutting back on your sodium intake, it’s equally important to increase your potassium intake.
Potassium counteracts the effects of sodium and helps to eliminate excess water from your body. It will also reduce the tension in your blood vessels, lowering your blood pressure.
Some great potassium foods to add to your diet include:
(Note: High potassium intake can be dangerous for those with kidney problems.)
If you’re a smoker, you’ll find that the easiest way to combat your blood pressure problems is by kicking cigarettes.
The chemicals in tobacco harden the walls of your blood vessels, making them inflexible, narrowing your arteries, and causing inflammation that can lead to serious damage when your blood pressure rises. The narrowing of your arteries also makes it harder for your heart to pump blood effectively, leading to even higher blood pressure.
Plus, there’s that spike in both heart rate and blood pressure that kicks in right after your first drag on the cigarette—one of the side effects of the nicotine and tobacco.
Smokers who quit find that the benefits to their cardiovascular system are visible within a few days! It’s a tough habit to kick, but it can lead to serious improvements in your blood pressure.
Not drinking water, but alcohol!
Alcohol is another blood pressure raiser, especially when consumed in excess. Yes, some studies have indicated that certain alcohols—like dark beer, red wine, and whiskey—contain antioxidants and can help to lower blood pressure, but that’s typically only the case with very low or moderate alcohol intake.
For the average person who has two or three drinks in one sitting, there are noticeable negative effects on your blood pressure.
Time to cut back!
Stick with one drink per day, and try not to have a drink more than two or three times a week. It can help to keep your blood pressure under control the natural way!
How many cups of coffee do you drink per day? Could they be the cause of your problems?
Caffeine triggers a short-term increase in blood pressure and heart rate. For most people, the effects wear off quickly with no lasting side effects. However, for those who are sensitive to caffeine, it can affect your blood pressure.
Try it for a few days, cutting coffee and measuring your blood pressure levels throughout the day. If there’s a visible difference on the days you don’t drink coffee, it’s a sign that it might be affecting you negatively.
Dark chocolate (and cocoa) contain flavonoids and antioxidants that can help your blood vessels dilate and relax, allowing for easier blood flow. You can see reduced blood pressure and improved heart health thanks to the potent compounds in dark chocolate.
Stick with ONE little square or piece per day—too much is going to raise your sugar intake, which is terrible for your health. Make sure it’s 70% cocoa or higher, and both your taste buds and your heart will thank you!
It may not be easy but remember, lowering your blood pressure is vital to your health. If you have high blood pressure and you're looking for natural ways to lower it, consider giving some of these tips a try, you'll be happy you did!
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