High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, there are several measures you can take to ensure your health condition doesn’t worsen, including lifestyle changes, medications and many more. Here are some ways by which you can bring those numbers down:
- The DASH diet: Following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet can help in lowering your blood pressure by a considerable margin. The DASH diet includes cutting down on foods rich in saturated fats, such as processed and packaged foods, and consuming more of low-fat dairy products, fish, lean meat, nuts, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This also includes reducing your consumption of desserts and drinks like sweetened and/or carbonated beverages.
- Exercise: It is no wonder that regular exercise is prescribed as a remedy for most of the adverse health conditions which affect us. Once a proper, healthy dietary routine is established, the next logical step is to become lean and toned, in order to reduce the burden on our heart and strengthen our body. You can opt for walking, jogging, going to the gym, yoga, swimming or any other form of exercise. But make sure you spend at least half an hour everyday in order to see the tangible effects.
- Shed the flab: It is a known fact that being obese enhances your risk of getting heart attack and other related conditions. The good news is, even a small magnitude of weight loss can significantly lower your blood pressure, as well as helping with other disorders like sleep apnea.
- Reduce Sodium, Increase Potassium: Sodium aids absorption and retention of water, and also increases the blood pressure in the body. In order to decrease the sodium intake, take some measures like eating fewer processed and packaged foods, adding less salt to your food. A natural corollary to reducing the consumption of sodium is to increase the intake of potassium, as it mitigates the effect of salt in the body, and also relieves the pressure in the blood vessels. Potassium also acts as an electrolyte which balances the salts in the body. Some foods which are high in potassium include fruits like bananas and oranges, vegetables like potato, sweet potato, tomato, spinach etc., fish and dairy products such as milk and yogurt.
- Stop Smoking: The tobacco present in the blood constricts the arteries, thereby increasing the pressure on the walls of the blood vessels and increasing the heart rate. Even secondhand smoke can be equally dangerous as actually smoking a cigarette.
- Reduce Alcohol Intake: Excessive alcohol consumption sends the blood pressure skyrocketing and also reduces the efficacy of blood pressure medications. Moderate your alcohol intake, if you’re unable to cut down fully.
- Manage Stress: Stress due any factor; be it work or personal affairs can raise your blood pressure. Once you have identified the source of your increasing stress levels, find ways to fix the problem. You can also perform basic breathing exercises, meditation and yoga to calm yourself down and reduce your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Have some dark chocolate: This ought to be music to the ears of all the chocolate lovers out there. Dark chocolate has flavanoids which help widen the blood vessels. However, the dark chocolate should contain at least 60-70 percent cacao and should not be too sweet, which is usually the case. Also, do not gorge on the chocolate; just a small square a day will suffice.
These are just some of the remedies which you can avail within the comfort of your homes to keep a healthy blood pressure range. There are many other ways, for example taking some medicinal herbs, cutting back on caffeine etc. which need more research before establishing a definite link with the lowering of blood pressure. At the end of the day, a healthy lifestyle with moderating habits is sufficient to keep your blood pressure within limits and your heart healthy.