High blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as the “silent killer”. It often has no symptoms, but is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Blood pressure lower than 120/80 mmHg is considered normal. A blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher is high. If your systolic blood pressure is over 140 mmHg and your diastolic blood pressure is over 90 mmHg, you have high blood pressure.
The good news is that you may not need medication, but there is an effective way to reduce blood pressure, which is to make lifestyle changes. Here are 10 effective ways to lower blood pressure. Do not miss it!
1. Get active and exercise more
In a 2013 study, sedentary older adults who engaged in aerobic exercise had an average reduction in blood pressure of 3.9% systolic and 4.5% diastolic. The results are as good as some blood pressure medications. A 2013 report from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity in sessions lasting 40 minutes, 3 to 4 reps. every week.
If you can’t find 40 minutes of exercise, experts recommend breaking it up into 10 – 15 minutes of daily exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) makes similar recommendations. But you don’t have to run a marathon. Increasing your activity level can be as simple as:
- Use the stairs
- Walk instead of driving
- Ride bicycle
- Play a team sport
Regular exercise every day at least half an hour will help you lower blood pressure
2. Lose weight if you are overweight
If you are overweight, losing even 2 to 5 kg can lower your blood pressure. In addition, losing weight also helps reduce the risk of other health problems. A 2016 review of several studies reported that a weight loss diet reduced blood pressure by an average of 3.2 mmHg diastolic and 4.5 mmHg systolic.
3. Cut down on sugar and refined carbohydrates
Many scientific studies show that limiting sugar and refined carbohydrates can help you lose weight and lower blood pressure. A 2010 study compared a low-carb diet with a low-fat diet. The low-fat diet includes a diet pill. Both diets helped with weight loss, but the low-carb diet was much more effective at lowering blood pressure.
The low-carb diet lowered blood pressure by 4.5 mmHg diastolic and 5.9 mmHg systolic. The low-fat diet plus diet pills reduced blood pressure by just 0.4 mmHg diastolic and 1.5 mmHg systolic.
A 2012 analysis of low-carb diets and heart disease risk found that these diets reduced blood pressure by an average of 3.1 mmHg diastolic and 4.81 mmHg systolic. Another side effect of a low-carb, low-sugar diet is that you feel fuller for longer. Because you are consuming more protein and fat.
4. Eat more potassium and less sodium
Increasing your potassium intake and cutting back on salt can also lower your blood pressure. Supplementing with potassium offers two benefits at once: It reduces the impact of salt in your system and also reduces the tension in your blood vessels. However, a diet rich in potassium can be harmful for people with kidney disease. So talk to your doctor before increasing your potassium intake.
It’s easy to eat more potassium – so many foods are naturally high in potassium. Here are a few:
- Low-fat dairy foods, such as milk, yogurt
- Fruits like bananas, apricots, avocados, oranges
- Vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes, tomatoes, greens, spinach
Note that individuals react to salt differently. Some people are salt sensitive, which means more salt intake raises their blood pressure. Others are not sensitive to salt. They can eat a lot of salt and excrete it in the urine without raising their blood pressure.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends reducing salt intake with the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension) diet. The DASH diet mainly focuses on the following foods:
- Low sodium foods
- Fruits and vegetables
- Low fat milk
- Less sweets and red meat
Choosing the right foods also helps regulate blood pressure effectively
5. Eat less processed food
Most of the extra salt in your diet comes from processed foods and foods from restaurants. Popular high-salt items include cold cuts, canned soups, pizza, chips, and other prepared snacks. Foods labeled “low-fat” are often high in salt and sugar to compensate for the loss of fat. Fat is what gives food flavor and makes you feel full.
Cutting back — or even better, cutting out processed foods — will help you eat less salt, less sugar, and fewer refined carbohydrates. All of these can lower blood pressure.
You should get in the habit of checking food labels. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a sodium list of 5% or less on food labels is considered low, while 20% or more is considered high.
6. Stop smoking
Quitting smoking is good for your overall health. Smoking causes an immediate but temporary increase in blood pressure and heart rate. In the long term, the chemicals in cigarettes can raise blood pressure by damaging blood vessel walls, causing inflammation and narrowing of the arteries. Hard arteries make blood pressure higher.
The chemicals in cigarettes can affect your blood vessels even if you are passive smoking. One study found that children who smoke passively have higher blood pressure than children in non-smoking homes.
7. Relieve Excess Stress
There are many different ways to successfully relieve stress, so find the ones that work for you. Practice deep breathing, go for a walk, read a book or watch a comedy.
Listening to music daily has also been shown to lower systolic blood pressure. A recent 20-year study found that regular sauna use reduced deaths from heart-related events. And a small study has shown that acupuncture can lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
8. Try meditation or yoga
Yoga, which often includes techniques for controlling breathing, posture, and meditation, can also be effective in reducing stress and blood pressure.
A 2013 review of yoga and blood pressure found that mean blood pressure decreased by 3.62 mmHg diastolic and 4.17 mmHg systolic when compared with those who did not exercise. Studies on yoga practices that include controlled breathing, posture, and meditation are nearly twice as effective as yoga practices that don’t include all three of these factors.
While enhancing health, stabilizing mood, meditation and yoga also bring positive effects for people with blood pressure problems.
9. Eat some dark chocolate
Dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure. A review of studies on dark chocolate found that eating one to two bars of dark chocolate a day may help reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing blood pressure and inflammation. A 2010 study of 14,310 people found that people without hypertension who ate more dark chocolate had lower overall blood pressure than those who ate less dark chocolate.
10. Eat garlic or take a garlic extract supplement
BILLIONFresh coriander or garlic extract are both widely used to lower blood pressure. According to a clinical study, a time-released garlic extract may have a greater effect on blood pressure than regular garlic powder tablets.
A 2012 review noted a study of 87 people with high blood pressure that showed a 6 mmHg decrease in diastolic and a 12 mmHg decrease in systolic in those who ate garlic, compared with those who did not.
>>> See more: One of the great health benefits of this flower is to regulate blood pressure.
17 Effective Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/lower-it-fast Accessed: 9/3/2021
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.