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High blood pressure (hypertension) occurs if your blood pressure increases above normal levels. Blood pressure readings are made of two values: systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In adults, blood pressure is considered normal if the systolic value is less than 140 mmHg and diastolic value is less than 90 mmHg .
If the systolic value crosses over 140 mmHg and diastolic value crosses over 90 mmHg, a person is considered to have high blood pressure. A blood pressure measurement of less than 120/80 mm Hg is considered within the normal range, according to the American Heart Association.
High blood pressure increases the risk of heart problems like heart attacks, strokes, heart and kidney failure . Genetics, age, diet and lifestyle are some of the contributing factors for high blood pressure.
Lifestyle plays a major role in treating high blood pressure. Incorporating certain lifestyle changes can lower high blood pressure naturally. Read on to know the ways to naturally lower high blood pressure.
1. Lose excess weight
If you are overweight or obese, you are at a risk of developing high blood pressure. In fact, your blood pressure elevates as your body weight increases. Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference are used to determine if someone is overweight or obese. If you have a BMI of 25 to 29.9 you are overweight and BMI greater than 30 is considered obese . Try losing 5 kg of your weight to help lower blood pressure .
2. Practice exercise daily
Studies have shown that performing exercise regularly can lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. Regular, medium to high-intensity aerobic activity has been shown to lower blood pressure by 11/5 mm Hg in people with high blood pressure .
Exercise daily for 30 to 60 minutes, you can start with simple exercises such as walking, swimming, running or biking .
3. Lower your salt intake
Consumption of salt in excessive amounts increases the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Add less salt in your diet while cooking, avoid eating at restaurants so often and eat fewer processed foods. In this way, you can treat or prevent high blood pressure .
The World Health Organization's (WHO) recommended consumption of salt for adults is 2 g sodium per day (equivalent to 5 g salt per day) .
4. Stop smoking
People who smoke a lot are more likely to develop severe forms of high blood pressure and heart disease risk. So, if you have high blood pressure, stop smoking immediately to lower the risk.
5. Reduce alcohol consumption
Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can raise blood pressure levels and also reduce the effectiveness of certain blood pressure medications. The American Heart Association recommends drinking no more than two drinks per day for males and for females no more than one drink per day .
6. Follow the DASH diet
The Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension or DASH diet can lower blood pressure naturally. The DASH diet consists of eating fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products and foods which are low in saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol. Following a DASH diet can also reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol .
7. Lower your stress
If you are taking too much of stress, it will elevate your blood pressure levels. Identify what triggers your stress such as job, family, finances or illness. Once you know what is causing you to stress more often, you can try practising different relaxation techniques such as mediation or yoga that will help relieve your stress.
8. Eat dark chocolate
A study conducted in participants from various regions of Jordan found that consumption of dark chocolate was linked to a significant reduction in blood pressure levels irrespective of the age or family history of the individual .
9. Have probiotics
Studies have pointed out that having probiotics can significantly reduce systolic blood pressure by -3.56 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by -2.38 mm Hg. So, include probiotics as a part of your diet to maintain healthy blood pressure levels .
10. Monitor your blood pressure
Consult your doctor regularly to keep your blood pressure levels under control. Also, check with your doctor how often you need to monitor your blood pressure levels at home. In this way, you can keep blood pressure under control.
11. Limit your caffeine intake
Cut down on your caffeine intake as drinking more than four cups of coffee per day may increase your blood pressure levels. Talk to your doctor about the effects of caffeine on your blood pressure levels.
12. Cut back on sugar intake
As per a study, reduced consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and sugars was significantly linked to lowering blood pressure levels. Consuming excess sugar-sweetened beverages increases the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus .
13. Eat potassium-rich foods
Eat foods that are high in potassium as it lessens the effect of sodium, which in turn helps manage your blood pressure levels. The more potassium you eat, the more it will help the body get rid of sodium .
1. What is the best drink for high blood pressure?
A. Lemon water, water infused with chia seeds, methi water and low-fat milk are some drinks that can help manage your blood pressure levels.
Q. What foods can lower blood pressure immediately?
A. Berries, banana, dark chocolate, watermelon, kiwi, oats and green leafy vegetables can lower blood pressure.
Q. Which fruit is good for high blood pressure?
A. Berries are rich in natural compounds called flavonoids that can help lower blood pressure.
Q. How long does it take to lower blood pressure with diet and exercise?
A. You need to keep exercising on a daily basis and maintain a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. In this way, you will see positive results within few months. In addition, go for regular check-ups to keep your blood pressure.