High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a long-term condition in which the blood pressure inside the sufferer’s arteries is consistently elevated. Typically, if your blood pressure readings are 140/90 or higher for a period of weeks, then you will be diagnosed with hypertension. The high pressure puts a strain on the blood vessels and heart, and consequently increases the chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke. Health experts have also linked hypertension to dementia and kidney disease.
Recently, there has been a rise in the number of people who have this condition. Many more continue to suffer from the condition unknowingly, with no symptoms being present until the disease begins to cause some serious health problems.
Luckily, you can avoid hypertension with several natural methods. These ways are also beneficial for overall health and prevention of other lifestyle diseases. While taking the appropriate medication from your doctor is important if you have been diagnosed, there are various ways you can improve your symptoms naturally.
Increase Daily Activity
Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain good blood pressure. Regular activity helps to make the heart muscle strong and efficient when pumping blood, while at the same time lowering the pressure in the arteries. Health experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise (such as walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (such as running or aerobics) every week.
Even if you do not have enough spare time or any exercise equipment, you can easily include more activity in your daily routine. Try walking to the mall, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, walking to the office instead of driving, or playing with your dog after work.
Reduce Your Salt Intake
Your body requires a little amount of salt a day. However, due in part to the increased popularity of processed foods, most people have far too much salt in their diets. Studies have shown that increased salt intake may cause heightened blood pressure, heart problems, and strokes.
The body’s reaction to high salt intake differs from one person to another. But it’s best to remain on the safe side and lower your salt intake by choosing other spices and seasonings. In addition, eating fresh foods instead of processed ones will allow you to control the amount of salt in your diet more easily.
Consume Foods with High Potassium Levels
Potassium is one of the most important minerals in the body as it helps maintain appropriate sodium levels in the blood. Unfortunately, most modern diets have decreased the amount of potassium in the food while increasing the sodium content.
Increase the level of potassium in your body by eating foods that are naturally high in potassium. These include sweet potatoes, tomatoes, ripe bananas, potatoes, green leafy vegetables, and dairy products such as yogurt and milk. Potassium is also found in salmon, beans, and nuts.
Avoid Stressful Conditions
Stress has been found to be a key contributor to high blood pressure. When facing stressful conditions, our bodies enter into a fight or flight mode with the release of adrenalin. This causes constriction of blood vessels and makes the heart pump faster. If you are regularly stressed, you may eventually damage your circulatory system with the associated high blood pressure.
You can deal with stress in various ways. First, you should find a life/work balance that allows you to relax from the intense pressure that comes with a job. You can also calm your mind by listening to soft music or spending more time outdoors. Physical exercise also helps to relax the mind.
Quit Smoking and Cut Back on Sugar Intake
Smoking is a leading factor in the progression of heart disease. The smoke that you inhale contains dozens of chemicals, some of which may damage the heart and artery walls. With every puff, the risk that you will get hypertension or a related condition increases. Quitting smoking also helps lower other risks such as eye problems, or mouth and lung cancers.
On the other hand, an increase in refined sugars or a general increase in sugar intake is linked with high blood pressure. Studies have shown that sugar-sweetened drinks cause elevated levels of sugar in the blood and can cause you to become overweight. This, in turn, forces the heart to pump the blood harder. Drink fewer canned drinks or sodas, and try fresh fruit juices or water instead.