According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure typically has no symptoms and left untreated can have deadly consequences. High blood pressure contributes to more than 15% of deaths in the United States by increasing the risks of serious health conditions. Heart attacks, stroke, aneurysms and kidney failure are among the leading causes of death from high blood pressure.
Taking medication and regular visits to the physician to monitor blood pressure are effective ways to keep blood pressure in check. However, there are many other strategies that can be used to reduce blood pressure and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
1. Eat Healthy
We can’t seem to say this enough. There are so many benefits to healthy eating that can lead to improvements in every aspect of daily life. Eating a diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low or no-fat dairy products can significantly improve and maintain healthy blood pressure.
2. Get Active
Power walking, swimming, cycling or strength training and great ways to increase your physical activity and reduce blood pressure. The key is to exercise regularly – at least 30-45 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, can lower blood pressure. Grab a buddy and try some fun activities such as dancing, yoga, jogging or walking a trail. Integrating a vigorous cardio workout into your daily routine can improve circulation, increase oxygen, and expand lung capacity. Even a simple routine of stretching your muscles can increase coordination and improve posture.
Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
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3. Reduce Stress
Chronic anxiety and stress can wreak havoc on your blood pressure. Not only is chronic stress a major contributor to high blood pressure, it can increase your risk of developing other chronic health conditions as well. Start by making a list of those things in your life that cause stress or seem to trigger anxiety. Once you know what causes the stress then it’s easier to find ways to eliminate or reduce the stressors.
Some easy ways to decrease your stress level are:
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4. Cut Sodium Intake
Maintaining a diet low in sodium is a great way to reduce high blood pressure. Even small reductions in sodium intake can help lower blood pressure by as much as 8mmHg. Sodium can be found in more than just the salt shaker. The majority of sodium comes from restaurant foods, canned foods, processed meats and other pre-packaged meals. The American Heart Association recommends that you keep your sodium levels to no more than 1,500 mg per day.
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5. Drink Tea
Drinking tea has so many benefits to having and maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle. In addition to relieving stress, lowering cholesterol, it can also help reduce blood pressure. A Tufts university study showed that the phytochemicals in hibiscus tea are likely responsible for a large reduction in high blood pressure. Even drinking a soothing cup of chamomile tea before bed can lower anxiety and provide a restful night of sleep – both of which can lead to lower blood pressure.
Making the right lifestyle choices can help to reduce your blood pressure, and may even help lower your risk of developing heart disease. Start slowly and be proactive in your approach to lowering high blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about additional ways to help prevent hypertension and be sure to monitor blood pressure regularly.
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