My cousin is 34 years old and, though you’d never know it just by looking at her, she has high blood pressure. She is very thin, has an immaculate diet, and is one of the calmest, most relaxed people I’ve ever met. Her condition is genetic, so even though she may seem like she’s the epitome of a person with healthy blood pressure, she simply can’t avoid this stark reality. But she is in the minority.
For most people, high blood pressure is a preventable condition. It is largely determined by weight and lifestyle choices, such as physical activity and diet. In fact, people who are currently on medication for their blood pressure can potentially make their medicine more effective, or get off of it altogether, by making a few lifestyle adjustments.
High blood pressure can lead to all kinds of health problems that can sneak up on you out of nowhere. It increases the risk for potentially fatal episodes, like heart attack, stroke, or other organ failures. If you have high blood pressure, it’s a wise idea to do everything in your power to lower it. Here’s what you can do to drop your blood pressure to a healthy range—naturally.
Drop Some Weight: Most of the time, blood pressure rises with weight, so the heavier you are, the greater the pressure in your veins and arteries. This isn’t always the case, but it’s a typical trend. In fact, losing just 10 pounds has the ability to reduce blood pressure and make medicine more effective. The lighter you are, the less your heart has to work to pump blood around your body.
The circumference of your waist also makes a difference. People with larger waists tend to have higher blood pressure. For example, men with a waistline greater than 40 inches have a higher risk for high blood pressure and associated complications. The same is true for women who have a waistline of 35 inches or more.
Exercise: Getting 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity per day most days of the week can reduce blood pressure, too. Activity gets the blood flowing to reduce artery blockages and make sure veins and arteries stay loose, allowing for easier blood passage. Exercise also plays a major role in weight management, so it’s no surprise the two go hand in hand.
Diet: What you eat affects how your body functions, so the better you eat, the better your blood will pump. Eating a diet rich in whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats will help improve blood pressure. Limiting foods high in cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium, and reducing your alcohol consumption can also have a big impact.
With these suggestions, you can feel better and take control of your blood pressure, while reducing your risk for fatal health conditions, without relying on medication. But be sure to consult with your physician first to see which course of action is best for you.
Source for Today’s Article:
“10 Ways to Control High Blood Pressure Without Medication,” Mayo Clinic web site, July 19, 2012; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046974/?linkId=8744731&pg=1, last accessed July 16, 2014.