Nearly 13 million Americans are living with high blood pressure and don’t know it. Undiagnosed hypertension is extremely dangerous. Without a management plan, the risks of stroke, heart attack, aneurysms, coronary heart disease, and other conditions can be deadly.
High blood pressure weakens blood vessels. This causes them to narrow, and even rupture. Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is one of the most important things you can do for your health to live a long, happy life. While some stages of hypertension can only be managed with medication, there are many things you can do in your daily life to lower your blood pressure and keep it low. To help you live a healthier life, here are some of our best tips to naturally control your blood pressure.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
This may not always be easy, but managing your weight will benefit you in the long run in many ways. Carrying around extra weight can raise the heart rate and make it difficult for your cardiovascular system to operate as normal. Stick to a healthy diet (check out our tips here) and regular exercise. Regulate your meals, set time aside for physical activity, and discipline yourself to achieve your goal of a healthy blood pressure.
Limit Sodium Intake
Go easy on the salt! This extends beyond just table salt. Many drinks, snacks, and fast food are high in sodium. Keep track of the sodium in your food by reading all nutrition labels. Some foods high in sodium are pizza, soup, cold cuts, bread, and chicken. A heart healthy daily limit of sodium is 2,000 milligrams.
Alternatively, you should eat foods that are rich in potassium. The effects of increased potassium in your diet are far and wide, but they start with counterbalancing the negative effects of sodium!Fish, bananas, apricots, oranges, milk, yogurt, vegetables like potatoes (regular and sweet), tomatoes, spinach, and leafy greens are excellent choices to include in your diet.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
If you drink alcohol do so in moderation. Drinking more than 3 drinks in one day raises your blood pressure temporarily, but heavy or binge drinking patterns may contribute to higher blood pressure long term.It’s recommended to drink no more than 1-2 drinks a day depending on your age and sex. Ask your doctor what amount of alcohol is unhealthy for your heart to come up with the right number.
Limit Caffeine, Sugar, and Refined Carbohydrates
Caffeine can cause a short but rapid spike in your blood pressure much like too much alcohol. Sugar found in many sodas, juices, and sports drinks can make it difficult for you to maintain a healthy weight. The same can be said for refined carbohydrates that are found in a number of foods like bread, pasta, and pastries.Cutting back on these foods can ease your troubles in maintaining a healthy weight. And remember, a healthy weight is step 1 in maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
There are no benefits to smoking, as it affects the entire body in many negative ways. Worst of all, smoking makes your heart work harder than it should. Join a support group or ask your doctor about treatments that can help you quit.
Keep the Stress Down
Stress is all around us, but the important thing is to manage it because it can have a huge impact on your blood pressure. Increased stress from daily life can contribute to increased blood pressure. Take a vacation or engage in some form of physical exercise to relieve some of that daily stress. Doing yoga or some kind of meditation are also great ways to reduce your stress.
Keep Track of Your Blood Pressure
The best way to maintain a healthy heart is to keep an eye on it. But how can you do this if you’re not always at the doctor’s office? Having your own blood pressure monitor can make it easy to keep track of it at home.Many monitors are compact and easy to use. Some monitors even keep a log of your readings over time making it easier for you to stay on top of your health.Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is vital to living a longer, more healthy lifestyle. Remember to follow your doctor’s advice on the best treatment options for you personally.
And as always, share with us the best ways you maintain a healthy heart!