How To Improve Blood Pressure Without Medication
You may discover at the doctor’s office that your blood pressure reading is high. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common condition in which the force of blood against your artery walls is too high. High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart disease that can lead to heart attacks, kidney failure, stroke, and even dementia.
Because of the associated risks, a higher than normal blood pressure reading in a healthy adult can be alarming. While there are medications you can take to lower your blood pressure, there are also options to improve your blood pressure without blood pressure medicine. We consider medication a last resort.
You may be able to successfully reduce your high blood pressure by leading a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle can help you avoid or delay the need for blood pressure medication. Living a healthy lifestyle is crucial to improving blood pressure. CardioVascular Group cares about your health and suggests the following lifestyle tips lower your blood pressure without medication.
Oftentimes, blood pressure increases when your weight increases. Being overweight increases your chances of high blood pressure and heart disease. Weight loss is an effective way to lower your blood pressure without medication. If you are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight may significantly lower your blood pressure.
Any form of aerobic exercise or moderately intense activity is proven to reduce the risk of high blood pressure. As you start to exercise regularly, the pressure in your arteries decreases and your heart is able to pump blood more effectively. 30 minutes of exercise at least four days per week can drastically improve your overall cardiovascular health and reduce high blood pressure by several points. Getting active is great for your overall health and a good alternative to blood pressure medication!
Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables helps to reduce inflammation in the cardiovascular system, allowing for more efficient blood flow. Saturated fats and cholesterol are known to increase your blood pressure and put your heart at risk. Processed foods damage the blood vessel walls, leading to high blood pressure and other severe heart conditions.
Here are some dietary tips that are essential for a healthy blood pressure reading:
- Increase potassium in your diet. Potassium regulates blood pressure in the body. Foods to include in your diet that are high in potassium are nuts, bananas, avocados, and spinach.
- Decrease your salt intake. Even a small reduction in your sodium intake can significantly improve your blood pressure. To decrease your salt intake, read your food labels, eat fewer processed foods, and don’t add extra salt to your food. For those with high blood pressure, it is advised to consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day.
- Avoid sugar. Sugary foods cause weight gain and force your heart to work harder. This can lead to high blood pressure. Limit sugary drinks and sweets in your diet. Instead of a sweet treat, fruit is a great alternative!
- Eat less dairy. Dairy can contain unhealthy saturated fats which are linked to heart disease. Opt for alternative dairy products such as almond milk or low-fat dairy products.
Smoking hardens the inner lining of the blood vessels and makes it harder for them to relax. In turn, the workload on the heart becomes more demanding, and blood pressure increases. Smoking is bad for your health in general and should be avoided at all costs.
Studies show that reducing stress levels, paired with adequate exercise, can lower blood pressure. When you are stressed, the endocrine system produces an excess amount of hormones that trigger a fight-or-flight mode. The blood vessels constrict and force the heart to work overtime.
Here are a few options you can try to reduce your stress levels:
- Rest and relaxation. Take time each day to relax and breathe deeply. Make time in your day to do things that you enjoy.
- Meditation. Evidence shows that meditation may activate the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the “Rest and Digest” system. Meditation relaxes the body by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
- Change your expectations. Avoid overworking and make sure you prioritize your day. Practice boundaries and learn how to say “no”!
Get Better Sleep
Poor sleep can be linked to sleep apnea which is a factor in increased blood pressure. Not getting enough sleep can throw your hormones off balance and cause you more stress. Make sure to get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
Now that you have a better understanding of how you can improve blood pressure, CardioVascular Group encourages you to make lifestyle changes so you can enjoy a healthier life. Your heart will love you for it!
If you have any questions about blood pressure or cardiovascular care, schedule an appointment today with the heart-healthy experts.