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5 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Hypertension (commonly known as high blood pressure) affects one-third of all adults in the United States, and less than half of those people have it under control. It can cause many problems without showing any warning signs.

The good news is: there are lifestyle changes that can help you naturally lower your blood pressure.

Regular Physical Activity

Not only does exercise help you control blood pressure, but it also helps you manage your weight, strengthen your heart, and lower your stress level.

Any type of aerobic activity (like walking, jogging, or dancing) is good for your heart. Finding an activity you enjoy doing will make it easier to commit to a regular routine and motivate you to get up and get moving.

Eat Less Salt

Many people eat too much salt without realizing it. The American Heart Association estimates that the average American eats about 3,400 mg of sodium a day. But, the recommended daily intake is 2,300 mg, with an ideal limit of less than 1,500 mg per day.

Even a small reduction of sodium in your diet can help improve your heart health. Try these tips to help:

  • Read food labels and look for “low salt” or “low sodium” versions of food and beverages that you normally buy.

  • Eat fewer processed foods. A small amount of sodium naturally occurs in foods. Nearly 80% of the sodium we eat comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods.

  • Don’t add salt. 1 teaspoon of salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium. You can use salt substitutes like spices, garlic, herbs, and other seasonings in place of salt to add flavor to your favorite dishes.

Add More Potassium

Potassium helps regulate heart rate and reduce the effects of sodium in the body. It can help get rid of the sodium and ease the tension in your blood vessel walls, which both help to lower blood pressure.

The best way to increase your potassium intake is by adjusting your diet to include potassium-rich foods like:

  • Fruits like bananas, melons, oranges, apricots, avocados, and tomatoes

  • Milk, yogurt, and cheese

  • Leafy green vegetables, potatoes, and sweet potatoes

  • Tuna and salmon

  • Beans

  • Nuts and seeds

It’s important to talk to your doctor about the potassium lebel thats right for you. If you have significant kidney disease, you should avoid consuming too much potassium, because your kidneys may not be able to eliminate it.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

Some research shows that drinking alcohol in moderation can benefit your heart. However, consuming too much alcohol at one time can cause a sudden spike in blood pressure.

If you do drink alcohol, the American Heart Association recommends that men limit their alcohol consumption to 2 drinks per day and women limite their alcohol intake to one drink per day. A drink is one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits.

If you’re currently taking medication to treat high blood pressure, you should be especially mindful of your alcohol intake.

Reduce Your Stress

There are lots of daily stressors that can cause temporary spikes in blood pressure. In most cases, the stress is resolved once the situation is resolved.

But, chronic stress may put you at risk for a variety of long-term health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Stress can also increase your blood pressure levels if your coping mechanisms involve eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol, or smoking.

It’s impossible to eliminate all stressors from your life, but it’s important to learn healthy ways to cope with them. Some healthy coping mechanisms include:

  • Reframing your mindset. Instead of worrying about situations that are out of your hands, focus on the things you can control. Many times, anxieties stem from worrying over “what if” instances that may not ever occur. Put those thoughts into perspective and remind yourself to stay present to help calm those worries.

  • Avoid stress triggers. Try to avoid putting yourself in unnecessary stressful situations, like leaving early to avoid rush hour traffic.

  • Practice gratitude. Acknowledging all of the positives in your life can help shift your focus away from what you are missing.

  • Take time to relax. Make sure you’re taking time to do things that you enjoy. Whether it’s eating a good meal, listening to your favorite music, or spending time with friends, find ways to incorporate enjoyment into your day.

If you’re looking for a new physician for your primary care, visit our “about us” page to learn more about Advanced HealthCare!

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