Cut back on salt, processed and ready-to-eat meals to lower overall sodium intake (keep your intake to under 1500mg/day!). Binge on flaxseeds, grapefruit, blueberries, oats; skip those drinks and smokes to lower cholesterol as well as your odds of getting heart disease. Exercise daily/an hour thrice a week. Head outdoors, soak up some sun to ramp up your D levels.
Is high blood pressure a problem you struggle with? If the thought of checking your blood pressure is stressing you out, try channeling that concern to make a change. Lifestyle can play a huge role in controlling blood pressure.
With little tweaks to your diet, how much salt you eat, or even your choice of fruits, coupled with the right kind of exercise, you should see the numbers settling lower.
Remember, a drop of even 12 to 13 mmHg in your systolic blood pressure can significantly cut the risk of coronary heart disease, strokes, and cardiovascular disease.1 So it is well worth the effort.
Cut Down On Sodium
Your body needs sodium to function and stay properly hydrated. Do not get enough and you run the risk of low blood pressure and dehydration, even death. But take too much and you could see your blood pressure skyrocket.
Researchers suggest this may be due to an expansion in blood volume, which also causes your kidneys to react, bringing hormonal and vascular changes that cause blood pressure to rise.2
Salt is high in sodium, as are a number of packaged and processed foods like meats, precooked foods, and ready-to-eat meals and snacks. By cutting your intake of these, you should be able to lower overall dietary sodium intake.3 Keep your intake to under 1500 mg a day.4
Fiber Up With Flaxseeds And Oats
Up your intake of fiber to see your blood pressure numbers come down. According to research, increased dietary fiber intake does not just lower cholesterol levels, it also helps bring down blood pressure.5
Flaxseeds are a powerful source of fiber and one of the most effective dietary means to cut blood pressure. In one study, subjects were all patients with peripheral artery disease and a blood pressure problem. Consuming 3 heaped tablespoons or 30g of flaxseed ground up every single day for 6 months caused their systolic blood pressure to fall by a staggering 15 mmHg.6
Oats, another fiber-rich food, can help with both systolic and diastolic blood pressure reduction. Research has found consuming oats can bring short-term antihypertensive effects. Keep in mind, though, if you stop eating them, the benefits go away.7
Binge On Blueberries
Blueberries contain anthocyanins that bring increased elasticity to blood vessels, causing blood pressure to be lowered.8
Animal studies on test subjects given high cholesterol/high fat diets have confirmed the role of blueberries in lowering blood pressure and improving the condition of those with endothelial dysfunction. This means the berry can potentially counter some of the harm you may have already done to your body by way of a high-fat or high-cholesterol diet.
However, this aspect of its effectiveness may need to be explored further on human subjects, so eat healthy and do not expect miracles.9
Spice Up With Cinnamon
Eating the warm, sweet spice cinnamon can help you reduce your blood pressure.10 Your blood vessels dilate due to the action of cinnamaldehyde, causing blood pressure to be lowered.11
Eat More Grapefruit
Add grapefruit to your diet – breakfast is a popular option to power up your day. The fruit is being studied for its ability to improve lipid levels in the body as well as its blood pressure lowering properties.
In one study, researchers gave subjects half a red grapefruit thrice a day for a 6-week period and found that it caused a significant reduction in blood pressure.12
Lose Some Weight
Weight loss eases the load on your circulatory and cardiovascular system. Researchers have found that a drop in body weight of just 5 to 10 kg can help lower blood pressure. This effort to lose weight can be aided by increasing intake of dietary flavonoids and a healthy balanced diet.13
Get Some Sun
Sunshine can help you lower your blood pressure. A group of researchers found that sunlight exposure causes a favorable alteration in nitric oxide levels in your blood and skin and lowers your blood pressure. 14 So head outdoors and soak up that sun!
A quick half an hour of aerobic exercise every day or an hour thrice a week can help your blood pressure. If you keep up this regimen, you should see results in 1-3 months. If you stay active, you should see blood pressure decrease by 4 to 9 mmHg.15
Skip Those Drinks And Smokes
Trade in your cocktail for something more PG rated. According to the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, moderating consumption can cause systolic blood pressure to drop by between 2 and 4 mmHg.16 Cigarette smoking too should be avoided – having one causes an instant increase in blood pressure.17
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||State Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program Addresses High Blood Pressure, CDC.|
|2.||↑||Salt and your health, Part I: The sodium connection, Harvard Health Publications.|
|3.||↑||Salt: the facts, NHS.|
|4, 15.||↑||Eight Ways to Naturally Lower Blood Pressure, Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine.|
|5.||↑||Anderson, James W., Pat Baird, Richard H. Davis, Stefanie Ferreri, Mary Knudtson, Ashraf Koraym, Valerie Waters, and Christine L. Williams. “Health benefits of dietary fiber.” Nutrition reviews 67, no. 4 (2009): 188-205.|
|6.||↑||Rodriguez-Leyva, Delfin, Wendy Weighell, Andrea L. Edel, Renee LaVallee, Elena Dibrov, Reinhold Pinneker, Thane G. Maddaford et al. “Potent antihypertensive action of dietary flaxseed in hypertensive patients.” Hypertension 62, no. 6 (2013): 1081-1089.|
|7.||↑||Keenan, Joseph M., Joel J. Pins, Christina Frazel, Antoinette Moran, and Lisa Turnquist. “Oat ingestion reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with mild or borderline hypertension: a pilot trial.” The Journal of family practice 51, no. 4 (2002): 369-369.|
|8.||↑||Eat blueberries and strawberries three times per week, Harvard Health Publications.|
|9.||↑||Rodriguez-Mateos, Ana, Akari Ishisaka, Kazuaki Mawatari, Alberto Vidal-Diez, Jeremy PE Spencer, and Junji Terao. “Blueberry intervention improves vascular reactivity and lowers blood pressure in high-fat-, high-cholesterol-fed rats.” British Journal of Nutrition 109, no. 10 (2013): 1746-1754.|
|10.||↑||Ranasinghe, Priyanga, Shehani Pigera, GA Sirimal Premakumara, Priyadarshani Galappaththy, Godwin R. Constantine, and Prasad Katulanda. “Medicinal properties of ‘true’ cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum): a systematic review.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 13, no. 1 (2013): 1.|
|11.||↑||Rao, Pasupuleti Visweswara, and Siew Hua Gan. “Cinnamon: a multifaceted medicinal plant.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014 (2014).|
|12.||↑||Dow, Caitlin A., Scott B. Going, Hsiao-Hui S. Chow, Bhimanagouda S. Patil, and Cynthia A. Thomson. “The effects of daily consumption of grapefruit on body weight, lipids, and blood pressure in healthy, overweight adults.” Metabolism 61, no. 7 (2012): 1026-1035.|
|13.||↑||Bertoia, Monica L., Eric B. Rimm, Kenneth J. Mukamal, Frank B. Hu, Walter C. Willett, and Aedín Cassidy. “Dietary flavonoid intake and weight maintenance: three prospective cohorts of 124 086 US men and women followed for up to 24 years.” BMJ 352 (2016): i17.|
|14.||↑||Liu, Donald, Bernadette O. Fernandez, Alistair Hamilton, Ninian N. Lang, Julie MC Gallagher, David E. Newby, Martin Feelisch, and Richard B. Weller. “UVA irradiation of human skin vasodilates arterial vasculature and lowers blood pressure independently of nitric oxide synthase.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology 134, no. 7 (2014): 1839-1846.|
|16.||↑||Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention,Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure, NIH.|
|17.||↑||The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2014, Surgeon General, US Department of Health and Human Services.|