So you want to lower your high blood pressure. You are not alone. High blood pressure or hypertension is an extremely common condition that affects nearly everyone at some point. Poor dietary choices, obesity, chronic stress, lack of exercise, or high alcohol consumption are some of the causes that lead to high blood pressure or hypertension. Fortunately, it is easily detectable and you can start working on how to lower it.
What is High Blood Pressure?
The heart has to work to pump blood through the arteries. If the arteries are narrow and the heart has to pump more blood, the person will likely have higher blood pressure because of the restricted blood flow. A person with a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is considered to have high blood pressure. If you don’t take action and treat high blood pressure, there is a higher risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or even having kidney failure.
High Blood Pressure in Men and Women
1 in every 3 American adults has high blood pressure and women are just as likely to develop it as men. High blood pressure affects more men under age 45 than it does women. Between the ages of 45 and 54, the percentage of men and women with hypertension is roughly equal, but the percentage of women increases after age 55. The reason the for the increased percentage of women with high blood pressure in later years is because estrogen levels fall after menopause. Women and men can develop high blood pressure similarly via physical inactivity, poor eating habits, obesity, or high salt intake. Contraceptive pills may increase a woman’s risk for high blood pressure, so check it regularly if on a birth control pill.
Tips to Lower High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
1. Lower Salt Intake
When your diet has a high amount of salt in it, your body will hold extra water, which increases blood pressure. In addition to avoiding salt, it’s best to steer clear of fast foods, processed foods, or canned foods. Use salt-free seasonings, or Himalayan or sea salt in low amounts. A salt alternative, which is more beneficial to the body, is Dulse. Dulse flakes are the perfect salt substitute for those on a low salt diet. Dulse provides sodium and potassium, which is an essential sodium-balcancing mineral. Both sodium and potassium work together to provide proper fluid balance inside and outside each cell. Additionally, keep a heart-healthy diet, which avoids hydrogenated ingredients, high fat content, and incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables.
2. Lower Stress
This may seem like it is easier said than done, but there are many ways one can easily reduce stress. First, identify what makes you stressed and then eliminate it or channel that energy towards something like yoga, meditation, or tai chi. You can also increase your daily intake of magnesium, as it helps to naturally lower stress. You can take a magnesium supplement, or you can incorporate magnesium-rich foods like bananas, avocados, spinach, raw almonds, pine nuts, cashews, lima beans, chickpeas, or Swiss chard into your diet.
Lemon juice is high in vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that helps neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals. Lemon keeps blood vessels soft and loosens things up, which can help reduce your blood pressure. Do not drink bottled lemon juice or anything from concentrate, as it can have sweetener or added sugars. Take the juice of half a lemon, mix it in a cup (8oz) of warm water, and drink in the morning on an empty stomach.
With garlic, you get a whole bunch of health benefits in addition to lower pressure. Raw or cooked garlic has blood pressure lowering effects, and can help reduce cholesterol levels. Garlic stimulates nitric oxide production by relaxing your blood vessels. Your recommended daily garlic intake should be at least 1-2 crushed cloves. Why crushed cloves? This creates hydrogen sulfide, which promotes proper blood flow, removes gas, and decreases pressure on the heart. Always remember fresh garlic can be more beneficial for the body. Once the garlic is cut, the hydrogen sulfide rapidly loses its potency and will all but disappear within an hour of chopping.
A little exercise goes a long way to helping reduce high blood pressure. It’s important to exercise daily, as this can reduce stress and promote healthy circulation. Don’t go overboard when you begin exercising, though. Start off by incorporating a daily walk into your routine. Make a scheduled time every day to exercise and stick to it. Once exercise becomes regular you can work out at different times, but a consistent workout time helps you to get in the habit at first. If you are limited by knee, hip, or back injuries, try swimming, yoga, rebounding, or using a recumbent bike. Aim for 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity 3-4 times per week if you want to lower blood pressure or cholesterol.
6. Restore Alkalinity
You may be wondering what alkalinity is. If you have a poor diet or eat lots of sodium, chances are that your body’s pH balance is heavily acidic. It’s best to avoid alcohol, sugar, meat, processed foods, and grains because these are the top 5 acid forming foods. To keep your heart healthy and lower blood pressure it’s ideal to have a neutral pH balance. You can do this by incorporating alkaline foods into your diet. Eat dark leafy greens, organic apple cider vinegar, berries, peaches, or root veggies like beets and turnips.
7. Black Seed
Black seed, or black cumin, has been known as a powerful cure for almost everything. You get a two for one with black seed because it helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. There are many anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that strengthen the immune system and reduce high blood pressure. You can also take 1 teaspoon of black seed oil and mix it with fresh fruit juice or herbal tea. You can also take the 1 teaspoon by itself if you don’t mind the taste.
High blood pressure is something that you can easily avoid if you take the right steps. It doesn’t have to be an inevitable condition. You can easily use some or all of the tips above to start living a healthier, more energetic life.