High blood pressure is a major factor contributing to the development of life-threatening diseases like stroke, heart attacks, and kidney failure. The reason is simple. Since each and every organ in the body is supplied blood through the blood vessels; when the pressure in these vessels rises, it is bound to affect the blood flow to the part causing considerable damage to the organs.
To make it simpler, just imagine you are blowing a balloon. If you try to inflate it more than its capacity, the balloon will burst! Similarly, when the pressure in the arteries rises, its walls are stretched till at one point it goes ‘POP’!
This can be so scary! I am sure you would never like to face such a situation. Just follow the simple, natural ways given below to keep your blood pressure in control and avoid the ‘POP” situations:
1. Exercise Regularly
The best way to control your blood pressure is to exercise regularly. Simple exercises like walking, jogging, swimming, or even doing household chores can lower your blood pressure.
You can incorporate cardiovascular exercises into your routine to improve the circulation, heart efficiency, and the lung capacity.
But, if you are a beginner and not ready for strenuous cardiovascular exercises, begin with simple stretching exercises. Pilates are also a good place to start with. The all you need is half an hour of moderate physical activity five days a week.
2. Take power walks
Though regular exercises are the best ways to prevent hypertension, it may not be suitable for you if you have been already diagnosed with it. If you have just started taking medications for hypertension, and are yet to achieve a stable dose that can maintain your blood pressure, its best to avoid strenuous exercises.
However, it doesn’t mean, you depend completely on the drugs. Also, you don’t have to shun all physical activities.
Taking a fitness walk at a brisk pace every day can also help to achieve good control over your blood pressure. It can also help to lower the dose of drugs over a period of time.
Start with a walk of 30 minutes every day and increase gradually to an hour per day instead of starting with a bang. A slow and steady approach is necessary to allow your body enough time to get used to your new exercise routine.
3. Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity can increase your risk of developing hypertension and also worsen your condition if you are already suffering from it. Obesity can cause more stress on the heart and result in poor blood circulation.
That is why; losing excess weight is essential for lowering your blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help in preventing the complications of hypertension. Weight loss can also make your anti-hypertensive medications more effective.
4. Pick potatoes
Potatoes are rich in potassium, which is a rival of sodium. Sodium and potassium are positive ions. So, when the level of one in the blood rises, the level of other automatically decreases.
Also, sodium is hygroscopic in nature. It means it pulls water along with it. So, if sodium levels in the blood are higher, there is a higher amount of water retention in the body resulting in a rise in the blood pressure.
When you put these 2 theories together, you will understand that you need to keep your sodium levels low for reducing your blood pressure and your sodium levels can be low when your potassium levels are high.
So, what you need to do is eat foods that are high in potassium and potato is one of them! Here are some more foods containing potassium:
- Orange juice
- Kidney beans
- Honeydew melon
5. Jump for soy
One thing that can keep your blood pressure in control and help you jump with joy is to go for soy. Replacing the refined carbohydrates in your diet with foods containing a high amount of soy or milk protein, like the low-fat dairy products, can bring down the blood pressure considerably.
6. Breathe deeply
There would hardly be any adult on this earth who can claim to be stress-free. Since stress is a major cause of hypertension, the best way to prevent hypertension is to manage stress.
Deep breathing and meditation practices like yoga, tai chi, and qigong can reduce stress by allowing you to relax and feel calm. These practices also have a favorable effect on the stress hormones, and a kidney enzyme called renin that raises blood pressure.
You can meditate for 10 minutes in the morning and at night. Breathe in deeply and then, exhale slowly to release all of your worries and tension.
7. Be salt smart
Coming back to sodium, which is the fiercest enemy of hypertensive patients, one thing you must do to control your blood pressure is to reduce your salt intake as it is high in sodium.
Check the sodium content on the label of processed foods. Remove salt shaker from your dining area. You can use spices, lemon, herbs, and salt-free seasoning blends for seasoning your dish.
8. Indulge in dark chocolate
Some varieties of dark chocolate contain flavanols, which have the ability to increase the elasticity of the blood vessels. The higher elasticity protects the blood vessels from rupture and also improves their ability to expand thus keeping the blood pressure in control.
You can have not more than half an ounce of dark chocolate daily. But, make sure you select the ones with at least 70% cocoa.
9. Seek help for snoring
If you have a tendency to snore, then you must get rid of this culprit at the earliest. It is estimated that almost 50% of the people with sleep apnea, a disease that causes loud snoring and disturbed sleep, have high blood pressure.
Also, sleep apnea patients have a high level of a hormone called aldosterone that can raise your blood pressure. Hence, it’s time to heed the complaints of your partner and check out your snoring.
Getting treated for sleep apnea will lower your aldosterone levels and improve the blood pressure.
When your blood pressure is under control, a proper blood supply to the vital organs like heart, kidneys, and the brain is ensured. Make sure you follow these natural ways and enter the safe zone of health and long life.