High blood pressure is a preventable health condition, but, unfortunately, it contributes to over 20% of deaths globally. It enhances the risks of the top killer diseases such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure among others. Medication can help lower high blood pressure, but they are expensive and may cause side effects like dizziness, insomnia and leg cramps. The good thing is that it is possible to control blood pressure without taking any form of medication. Here are some lifestyle changes you should consider to normalize you blood pressure.
1. Avoid Table Salt
The American Heart Association recommends not more than 1500mg of sodium per day. Sodium in table salts causes the body to retain fluids leading to more fluid volume in the blood. When the fluid volume in the blood is increased, the heart is forced to pump harder to move the excess fluid throughout the body. This is one of the causes that make your blood pressure go up. Therefore, avoid preserved, canned and bottled foods such as meats, sausage, pickles, chili, bakery products, ketchup, and barbeque since they contain high salt content. By avoiding table salt, you can easily lower your blood pressure.
2. Quit Smoking
The stimulants in cigarette smoke can cause blood pressure to increase. Stopping smoking can help to significantly lower your blood pressure while reducing your chances of getting diseases such as lung cancer.
3. Eat a Moderate, Healthy Diet
Try a diet that is more plant-based such as fresh fruits, leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grain products. Besides being healthy, these foods have high fiber content which helps to clean the digestive system, increase digestion, and lower blood pressure.
4. Stop Taking Coffee
The caffeine in coffee is a nervous system stimulant, which if taken in large quantities, can agitate the nerves, causing the heart to beat faster, thereby raising blood pressure. Stopping caffeinated beverage consumption can lower blood pressure significantly. However, when this is done abruptly, this can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches. It is, therefore, better to reduce your coffee consumption rate gradually till you're able to stop completely.
5. Exercise Regularly
Carrying around extra weight causes the heart to work harder at all times, leading to increased blood pressure. By exercising and losing the additional weight, your heart doesn't have to work as hard.
Try going for walks daily for at least 30 minutes at a moderate speed of 3 miles per hour. This will help the heart utilize oxygen more efficiently so that it doesn't work so hard to pump blood. Numerous studies have found out that a simple daily walk can suppress hypertension considerably.
6. Breathe Deeply and Meditate
Breathing techniques and meditative practices are practical ways that can help lower blood pressure. Try inhaling deeply and expanding your belly, then exhaling. Do this at least for 5 minutes twice a day, in the morning and before going to bed.
7. Have a Proper Recreation
Stress can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure in many people. If your high blood pressure is caused by being overweight, then stress can worsen it. This is because when the body is stressed, it produces stress hormones that tend to cause the cardiovascular system to overwork and increase your blood pressure. So, find time every day if possible just to relax. Doing so will go a long way in keeping your blood pressure under control and improving your overall health and well-being.