Do you know that nearly half the US adult population (47%, or 116 million) is hypertensive? And more than 90% of these people are on lifetime medication. While this is not wrong, the side effect of some of these medications can cause long-term damage.
Why not follow the natural pattern that involves lifestyle changes? Especially, when research reveals that 84% of people attain the recommended blood pressure of 120/80 mmHg after lifestyle changes for three months.
With simple lifestyle changes, you will eat what you want, lower your blood pressure and protect your heart from dangerous medications.
Here are some of the top and easy-to-follow lifestyle changes recommended by medical experts for lowering blood pressure.
1. Minimize your sodium (salt) intake
Lowering the amount of sodium in your diet will significantly decrease your blood pressure. Though the effect of sodium on blood pressure largely depends on age, the best advice by health experts is to reduce sodium intake.
For most people, low sodium of about 1500 mg daily is good. But in general, your sodium intake should not exceed 2300 mg daily.
Here is a tip on how to reduce sodium intake:
Eat less processed foods: Most processed foods contain excess sodium but the sodium in natural foods is much less.
Decrease salt used in cooking: Instead of adding more salt, increase spices or herbs while cooking.
Read food labels: Food with low sodium content should be your choice at any time.
2. Exercise Regularly
Choose an exercise plan that best fits you and be consistent. Thirty minutes of workout at least three days a week or 150 minutes a week is enough to decrease your blood pressure by 5 to 9 mm Hg.
Note, you need to be consistent because if you stop, the blood pressure may rise again and even more than the previous one this time. The best practice is to keep it simple and consistent.
3. Reduce Stress
Stress may come at some stages of your life; it may be chronic or occasional. However, it is not the stress that matters; but how you react to it.
Some react to stress by eating unhealthy foods like smoking and drinking alcohol. This is what makes stress affect and increase your blood pressure in most cases.
Have a good understanding of the cause of the stress. And then eliminate the cause completely or at least reduce it. It may be family, illness, work, or finance.
Also, you may choose a healthy habit that will help you cope better with stress. For instance, your expectations should be changed. Learn to say no and avoid trying to do more than necessary. Know things that cannot be changed in your life and stop worrying about them.
Put more effort into things you can control easily. If there is any issue you have with either kids or spouses, make an effort and resolve them.
4. Eat a healthy Diet
If you have elevated blood pressure, eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and dairy products with low fat.
Your elevated blood pressure will decrease up to 12 mm Hg with a healthy diet in less than four months. This method or eating plan is called Dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH).
Also, because potassium can decrease the action of sodium in the blood, it will be a good idea to increase potassium intake. Vegetables and fruits are better sources of potassium compared to any supplement.
5. Watch Your weight and loose Extra Pounds
Increased body weight leads to an increase in blood pressure. weight loss is one of the most effective methods to decrease blood pressure.
Each kg of weight you lose may cause a corresponding decrease in blood pressure by about 1 mmHg. Therefore, keep a check on your waistline. They have a great effect on blood pressure.
Lifestyle has a great impact on blood pressure and changing some basic aspects of it will help you live healthier. This is because it is easier to change lifestyle and keep to it than to keep to medication.
Besides, it costs you little to nothing to change your lifestyle compared to medication. Eat healthy, live healthy, and exercise regularly.