Do you know that three out of ten people who have blood pressure have no idea they have it? And rest of the seven people who realize they have it struggle a lot or do not have any idea on how to keep it under control.
If you do not know whether you have blood pressure or not, then get it checked with your Doctor. Even if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure and taking the medications prescribed to you regularly, the key to successfully keeping your blood pressure under control lies in exercise, diet changes along with medications.
Why do you have high blood pressure?
High blood pressure simple means that your heart is working harder than it should to pump blood and your arteries are stressed. While that sounds simple, in the medical world that rises flag or could potentially lay the foundation for many other health risks such as kidney disease, stroke, heart attack, and many other deadly diseases.
You are considered to have high blood pressure when your blood pressure levels are 140 or higher in systolic scale or 90 or higher in diastolic scale.
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure or notice your blood pressure soaring high, then try to take these simple measures to bring it under control.
1 Try the DASH approach
DASH is the short form for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is a special diet program, and studies on it have really proved to be very effective in reducing the blood pressure.
Dash diet can be accessed with a simple google search. However, the gist of the diet is this: The diet is low in cholesterol, saturated fats, and total fat intake, with higher emphasis on intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat foods. Vegetables can be both cooked and in raw form. This diet has proven to reduce blood pressure levels within two weeks time.
2 Limit Your Salt Intake
Salt is a rich source of sodium, and its nature is to retain more water. This means when you eat more salt, your body will retain more water. The effect of retaining more water inside your body is the same as filling up a water balloon with more water. It adds more pressure, which means an increase in your blood pressure levels.
If you have high blood pressure, try to limit your sodium intake to less than 1500 milligrams. That approximately equates to 3/4th of a teaspoon of salt a day.
Remember even if you don’t deliberately add more salt to your food, there are hidden salts present in prepackaged, and processed foods. This includes snacks, meat products, canned soups, etc… Try to avoid any prepackaged foods and include fresh fruits, and vegetables in its place. Prepackaged foods, even if its claim to be healthy, need not necessarily be so if you have high blood pressure.
3 Increase Your Potassium and Magnesium Intake
What DASH diet does is reduce your intake of sodium, which is substituted with increased intake of potassium, and magnesium. However, you need not have to follow a DASH diet to benefit higher intake of these minerals. All you have to do is increase the intake of vegetables and fresh fruits. Both are very rich sources of potassium, magnesium, and has higher levels of fiber. All of these three ingredients are really good for your arteries, and blood vessels.
4 Oatmeal Breakfast
Many studies had repeatedly shown Oatmeal’s special ability to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It contains a form of soluble fiber called beta-glucan which is believed to be the reason behind its blood pressure lowering property.
Try to start your day with a bowl of Oatmeal every day and you will definitely start to notice a drop in your blood pressure levels.
5 Cut down your alcohol
It is no surprise that most heavy drinkers or regular drinkers of alcohol are victims of high blood pressure. If you are a regular drinker try to limit your consumption as much as possible. If you are an occasional drinker then stop it completely. Regular alcohol intake will raise your health risks by a greater margin over non-drinkers.
6 Try to shed some weight
More weight on your body means more work for your heart. If you are overweight, then it means your heart is pumping harder. This is one of the main reasons why most heavy and obese people tend to have high blood pressure. Once you shed a few pounds over a period of time, you will significantly reduce the burden on your heart and the results will become more apparent in your blood pressure levels.
7 Quit smoking
Cigarettes contribute for two major effects for your heart directly: Harmful chemical compounds present in tobacco will harden the arteries, and nicotine will constrict your blood vessels. Results of these conditions are bad for anyone and more so for people with high blood pressure.
8 Be active and exercise
Even if you cannot exercise every day, try to include some form of exercise for at least three days a week. Though exercises might temporarily increase your blood pressure levels, it will help to keep your resting blood pressure levels normal. A brisk walk, jogging, running, bike riding, swimming, and yoga are some excellent choices to keep your pressure levels in the normal range.
9 Pet an Animal
Many studies point out to the fact that people who pet animals like cats, dogs, and fish have been very successful in reducing their stress levels along with a marked reduction in blood pressure.
10 Supplement Magnesium
Magnesium is known for its muscle and blood vessels relaxing property. It helps to widen the openings of your blood vessels thereby reducing the blood pressure levels. If you are pregnant or nursing a baby then try to consult your Doctor before supplementing magnesium.
Magnesium supplements in the form of magnesium orotate and magnesium glycinate are safer choices.
11 Increase your garlic intake
There are no conclusive studies to prove blood pressure lowering properties of garlic. However, it is not know how but garlic has shown to reduce the blood pressure when consumed regularly. You might find the taste and smell of raw garlic to be unpleasant but consume one raw garlic a day to benefit its effects on your pressure levels.
12 Consume Fish-oil supplements
Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids. These acids are found to inhibit the production of substances like prostaglandins, which will narrow down your arteries thereby increasing your pressure levels.