Lower Your Blood Pressure Without Medications
For some people, controlling high blood pressure requires taking several medications daily. Each can produces undesirable side affects. Not taking the medication due to side affects can result in a heart attack or stroke which are still the number one killer in the United States.
There are proven ways to lower your blood pressure without taking any prescription medications. These simple drug free therapies can also prevent high blood pressure.
If you are concerned about developing high blood pressure due to family history, or are on blood pressure medication and want to reduce or eliminate the need for prescription meds, try one or more of the following steps.
1. Lose Weight
Your heart must pump blood to a larger body mass when you are overweight or obese. This makes the heart work harder. Not gaining weight or losing weight reduces the load on the heart. This means the heart only needs to work harder when you exercise or do other strenuous activities and not 24 hours per day.
Speaking of exercise, any activity that increases your heart rate and makes your kings work harder is the best way to control or lower blood pressure. It seems counter intuitive, but exercise improves blood vessels ability to open and close which improves blood flow. When blood flow is restricted, your heart must work harder which elevates blood pressure.
Your goal should be 150 minutes (2.5 hours of moderate intensity activities per week. Brisk walking is a moderate intensity activity.
3. Change Your Diet
Your can cause inflammation which damages blood vessel walls. By reducing or eliminating refined grains (wheat and rice), sugary foods, high sodium foods, highly processed foods, and saturated fats, and adding more fresh fruits and vegetables (frozen is OK), fiber, whole grains, and lean meats to your diet you can reduce or prevent high blood pressure.
A Mediterranean diet and DASH diet are both known to reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases.
A healthier diet low in saturated fats also helps you lose weight or prevent gaining weight as you age.
4. Limit Salt Intake
Although eating too mush salt raises blood pressure on only 5 percent of the population, if you are on blood pressure medication eating too much salt reduces or negates the medications effectiveness.
The recommended daily limit for people age 51 and older without high blood pressure is 1,500 mg. African Americans of any age and people with high blood pressure which limit sodium to 1,500 mg per day regardless of age.
Limiting sodium to 1,500 mg per day means home cooking, and limiting breads, processed meats, canned soups and other high sodium processed foods.
5. Limit Alcohol Consumption
Excess alcohol raises blood pressure. Adult men should limit alcohol to two drinks per day and women to 1 drink per day or no alcohol if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, or have a family history of breast cancer. Click her for more information about alcoholic beverages.
6. Ease Stress
Stress raises blood pressure. Meditation and other alternative therapies that trigger the relaxation response lowers blood pressure. This isn’t fantasy. It’s a well documented physiological change that can help lower your blood pressure and you can do it in the comfort of your home at no expense.
Just 10 minutes of daily meditation can lower your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, adrenaline levels, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Any type of meditation, tai chi, yoga, or relaxing activity like gardening, painting, and cooking can trigger the relaxation response. Experiment until you discover what works best for you.
7. Control Underlying Condition
You can’t ignore other condition when you have high blood pressure.
High blood sugar causes blood vessels to become narrower and is associated with insulin resistance. Both are linked to high blood pressure.
High cholesterol doesn’t increase blood pressure, but it does increase blood vessel damage. Sleep apnea and thyroid disorders also increase blood pressure.
8. Stop Smoking
Over 25 percent of Americans smoke. Smoking damages the inner lining of arteries and makes it harder arteries to relax. If you are on blood pressure medication, smoking counters the medications effectiveness.
Source: Harvard Health Letter May 2015