5 Rules For Lowering Blood Pressure Naturally – Or Even Just Maintaining It
Take it from a doctor: It is possible. Lowering blood pressure naturally is possible with a few healthy habits – and not being too restrictive.
Rule 1. Watch your diet for lowering blood pressure naturally – not so much sodium intake
Although restricting sodium does play a role in lowering blood pressure naturally, the benefits of restricting salt are modest. It only drops blood pressure an average of three millimeters of mercury (mm Hg, how blood pressure is measured). A healthy diet for those with high blood pressure is similar to what is considered healthy for anyone: Lots of whole foods and avoiding heavily salted, processed foods. Feel free to use a modest amount of salt from the salt shaker.
Rule 2. Increase your potassium intake
Your new mantra should be: “A banana a day keeps the doctor away!”
It is more important to increase your potassium intake than to restrict salt, actually. Increasting this nutrient in your diet is is associated with a five to 10 mm Hg drop in blood pressure.
So, top your salad with a generous amount of avocado. Drink coconut water or tomato juice instead daily. Have a banana or two for dessert. All these foods are rich in potassium.
Rule 3. Skip the margarine
It’s not so much that margarine is bad for blood pressure (although there is some debate as to how healthy it is for us), but you have better options. Instead, go “Mediterranean” and favour the olive oil over margarine.
Olive oil is a good fat, which helps to increase our good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, a.k.a. HDL) and lower the bad kind (low-density lipoprotein, a.k.a. LDL). And that will help in lowering blood pressure naturally.
You can cook with olive oil (but watch the temperature, as it has a lower burn point than other “frying” oils). And you can add it to salads, pastas, soups, juices, and more.
Rule 4. Keep calm and enjoy your caffeine
Coffee and tea anyone? Absolutely. Having a cup or two a day does not increase blood pressure long term. That’s good news!
Rule 5. Don’t believe the eggs myth
Research shows that having a few eggs each day does not increase the risk of heart disease, or raise cholesterol. So, enjoy your morning E&B (with or without the B).
illustration credit: shutterstock
Rule 6. Enjoy a glass of wine
Don’t let your blood pressure go through the roof because you think you can’t drink.
Actually, in moderation of course, women can safely drink two drinks a day maximum, without worrying about their health. And some research shows that alcohol may prolong life, when compared moderate drinking to teetotalism.
However, drinking alcohol when your blood pressure is high can be problematic. So, wait till your blood pressure is under 130/80.
Rule 7. Know that you are already sweet enough
You will want to cut back the sugar. Not only is a sugar linked to high blood pressure, but it also increases the risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and other healthy conditions and implications.
Instead, enjoy fresh fruit – and no, that does not include a fruit cocktail with syrup. Drizzle on some of chocolate. When eaten in moderation, chocolate – especially dark chocolate– is actually considered a health food. Eating a small amount a day is associated with a whopping 57 per cent lower risk of heart attack.
Rule 8. Exercise, even if just a walk
Get moving. Exercise. Be active. Along with benefit of weight loss, exercise is a key part of lowering blood pressure naturally.
Also, new research suggests that sunshine — which raises vitamin D — may also help lower blood pressure. So, go for a walk outside in the daylight — and make a 30 to 60 minute walk part of your daily routine.