Do you squirm before taking your blood pressure reading in fear the result will be astronomical? Has your doctor advised you to make healthy lifestyle changes to lower your pressure numbers... or else?
Well, you're not alone. About 108 million Americans (45%) live with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. In 2017, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association (AHA) published new guidelines defining hypertension as ≥130/80 mm Hg.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 1 in 4 adults (24%) have their blood pressure under control. High blood pressure increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, the leading cause of death in the USA.
That's a scary prospect. However, if your numbers have breached those levels, it doesn't mean that your future is bleak, and you should sit back and wait for your inevitable end. And you don't have to settle for a destiny of popping blood pressure pills for the rest of your life. Let's explore simple methods to reduce your blood pressure numbers - naturally!
Methods to Managing Healthy BP
Here are 9 fantabulous ways to naturally lower your blood pressure to healthier levels, even back to normal, without meds. Each of the following methods has a significant effect on your blood pressure. By combining several of the methods listed below, or all of them, you can multiply their effectiveness by leaps and bounds.
1. Join the Mediterranean or DASH Diet Revolution. Tied for the top spot with #2 as the most significant aid to lowering your BP, is your diet. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
DASH or Mediterranean diets can lower your pressure values as much as 11 mm Hg systolic (higher number). The more whole foods you add and the fewer starchy carbs and sugars in your diet, the more substantial the effect.
Studies show that adding more veggies to your diet can reduce your systolic number by 7 mm Hg. Combining both the cutting down on meat products plus adding more veggies can lower your pressure by 11 mm Hg. A predominantly plant-based diet can drop your systolic reading by a humongous 18 points. The Mediterranean/DASH diets include:
- Colorful fruits and vegetables and whole grains
- Legumes and beans
- Heart-healthy fats, including avocados, fatty fish, nuts, seeds
- Low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, and nuts
- Eliminate high saturated fatty foods, processed foods, full-fat dairy products, and fatty meats
- Eliminate refined carbs, desserts, sodas, and juice.
2. Movin' & Groovin'. One of the most transformational ways to improve your health and lower those pressure numbers is to exercise 30-60 minutes a day. Studies show that after 3 months of aerobic exercise, your systolic pressure can drop by 9 points. Getting that blood pumping throughout your body boosts oxygen and nutrient delivery to every cell and ramps up your energy levels.
It elevates your mood, adds strength to muscles, and helps balance blood sugar. Staying active reduces your risk for diabetes, brain, and heart diseases significantly. If you've been inactive for a while, it's essential to start slow, perhaps even talk to your doctor about safe routines.
Low-impact aquatic exercises are a great way to gradually introduce fun activities without harming joints or weak bones.
Walking, biking, yoga, and Tai chi are great ways of getting some sunshine and fresh air while slashing those BP numbers. The AHA recommends lifting weights, doing push-ups, or other resistance exercises that build lean muscle mass and supports your posture and bones.
3. Lose Belly Flab. There's a direct link between your waistline and high blood pressure. Losing just 10 pounds can drop your pressure by 7 points and make an impact on your heart health. Belly fat triggers inflammatory markers that increase your risk for heart disease. This type of fat is called visceral fat.
It surrounds your organs, causing major health concerns, including reducing insulin sensitivity, blood clotting, and raising blood pressure.
Fatty acids released by this fat can enter the portal vein and travel to the liver. It raises blood cholesterol levels that lead to plaque and hardening of the arteries, called atherosclerosis. It's recommended that men keep their waist measurements less than 40 inches and women less than 35.
4. No Added Salt, Thanks. Salt drives up your blood pressure by holding onto water, making your heart work harder. According to the AHA, it's best to keep your intake between 1500 mg and 2300 mg per day. That's less than 1/3 to less than 1/2 a teaspoon for an entire day. Restricting your salt intake can drop your systolic blood pressure by a whopping 16 points.
Choose no-salt-added foods and stop reaching for the saltshaker because those grains add up quickly. You can reduce the harmful effects of salt by eating potassium-rich foods, including avocados, bananas, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and peas.
5. Nix the Nicotine. Did you know that every cigarette drives up your blood pressure for several minutes? In heavy smokers, your blood pressure can stay elevated for extended periods. Smoking, including second-hand smoke, dramatically increases your risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
6. Limit Alcohol. A glass of red wine with dinner can be advantageous for heart health. But drinking excessive amounts can lead to health risks, including high blood pressure. It can also reduce the effectiveness of certain blood pressure medications. The AHA recommends that men limit their alcohol intake to 2 drinks per day and women 1 drink per day. Alcohol restriction can drop your systolic pressure by 5 points. One drink equals:
- 12 ounces of beer
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor
7. Find Ways to Destress. In today's world of hustle and bustle, relaxation has become work. It takes time and effort to STOP what you're doing and clock out of the madness for some ME-TIME. But stress can push up those BP numbers. And stress is toxic to your health. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and Tai chi are just a few popular methods to balance your life and lower your blood pressure.
Entering a green space automatically puts your mind into a state of meditation called "involuntary attention". Walking in a Nature setting or barefoot on grass reduces stress hormones, boosts endorphins, and clears your mind. Deep breaths or breathing exercises reduce tension and delivers a calming effect due to the burst of oxygen. Gardening offers physical activity and can be therapeutically meditative.
8. Cut Back on Caffeine. Caffeine can play a factor in increasing blood pressure levels in those who rarely drink it. If a cup of coffee raises your BP by 5-10 mm Hg, you might be sensitive and should avoid it.
9. Intermittent Fasting (IF). This new easier way of fasting has immense health benefits. IF involves restricting your food intake to an 8-10-hour window during your day. That means if you eat breakfast at 7 am, then your last meal for the day should end by 3 or 5 pm. Studies show that fasting improves metabolism, lowers blood glucose, and reduces inflammation. It helps flush toxins, enhances brain function, and lowers your risk for cancer.
Researchers found that fasting rejuvenates stem cells and lengthens telomeres, the DNA indicator of your lifespan.21 Studies also show that people with blood pressure readings averaging 140/93 mm Hg reduced to 126/83 mm Hg. The higher group averaging 160/100 mm Hg, dropped down to 135/87 mm Hg with IF. That's a drop of 14-25 points!
That said, however, if you have diabetes, an eating disorder, or are pregnant or breast-feeding, you should not attempt fasting without the supervision of a physician.
You'll be tickled pink with your blood pressure readings after adopting these methods into your lifestyle. By including one or two of the above tips into your daily life, you'll find your pressure levels have dropped. Combining several or all of the above methods, you'll likely find that your doctor rips up your BP prescription altogether.
Imagine reaching normal healthy levels and re-establishing control of your blood pressure and heart health. Now that's something to get excited about!
Physio Omega - Is a COMPLETE fish oil- including The Missing Omega - so you can fully support your health and help protect your body against the damage inflammation can cause.
Only the Missing Omega has been proven by Harvard Health to have the greatest influence on heart health, as well as reducing inflammation, which is a root cause of everything from a sluggish metabolism and low energy, to more serious issues like Alzheimer's, arthritis, skin disorders like eczema, increased allergies, and more.
You will never find DPA inside a mediocre fish oil and it's impossible to find in krill oil, as krill do not produce DPA in any amount.
A review of 12 clinical studies found that Physio Omega can lower systolic (higher) numbers by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic (lower) numbers by 10 mm Hg without significant side effects. CoQ10 also plays a significant role in immunity and acts as an antioxidant, protecting delicate vessels from damage and clot formation.
Vitamins and Minerals, including Folate, Magnesium, and Potassium, are also essential for a healthy heart and helps balance blood pressure levels.
Try finding a quality product that combines the above nutrients. Combining blood pressure medication with these supplements might lower your blood pressure too much. Talk to your doctor about using supplements as your dosage or meds might require adjusting.
As you can see, keeping tabs on your blood pressure and tweaking a few daily habits can help ensure your golden years are delightful!