Whether you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or are merely interested in lowering your health risks associated with high blood pressure, it is not always necessary to take medication. There are many natural, everyday things you can do to keep the blood pressure down while benefiting your health in other ways—because, after all, blood pressure is a major indicator of overall health. Of course, it is always a good idea to talk with your doctor about your blood pressure and what you should do to keep it down. But if you have no serious medical conditions and know that your blood pressure is not at dangerous levels, here are some things you can do to stay at a healthy level.
The most important thing you can do to keep your blood pressure in check is to get out and exercise—not just sometimes, but every day. It must be part of your lifestyle. Not only does exercise help you lose weight—which in itself can significantly reduce blood pressure, especially if you have not been exercising regularly—but it also improves your circulatory health and hence helps bring your blood pressure to a good level.
Stress and anxiety have been shown to increase blood pressure temporarily, and when they continue in the long term they pose serious risks to your health. The only surefire way to combat this effect is to make sure you have at least a little time every day to relax. Set aside a half hour to an hour each day to unplug and forget your pressures, and develop techniques for combating stress when it begins to take over your world.
Reduce alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine
Quitting alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine can be especially difficult because of these substances’ addictive nature, but doing so is one of the biggest favors you will ever do for yourself. All three are known to have negative effects on blood pressure, and of course they have many other negative benefits of their own. If you are serious about a naturally healthy lifestyle, make this a central part of your plan.
Sodium in the blood is a major contributing factor to high blood pressure, and studies have shown that even a moderate reduction in the amount of salt in your diet can significantly improve your health outlook. If you are used to eating lots of salty foods, then cutting back may seem unappealing at first, but once you get used to it you will find that many of your favorite foods and just as good without the added sodium content.
Plan a heart-healthy diet
In addition to just cutting out salt, plan your diet to comprise mostly heart-healthy foods. Place the greatest emphasis vegetables, fruits, whole-grains and foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Create a diet plan to help keep you on track, and minimize the number of exceptions you allow yourself. As with many health-promoting measures, getting yourself into a heart-healthy diet can take some getting used to, but once you get through the first few weeks, you will find that eating well and loving what you eat are not mutually exclusive.
By Lisa Pecos