High Blood Pressure levels and stressful lives are related to each other. Stressful lives give way for demanding lifestyles, putting a direct toll on our health. Blood Pressure is the pressure of the blood against the blood vessels. When the blood is pumped out from the heart to other parts of the body, it exerts a certain pressure on the blood vessels and the circulatory system. This allows all the organs to function well. But the problem occurs when the force of the blood that is being pumped out is high. Blood pressure levels can be measured by two broadly used term- Systolic Pressure and Diastolic Pressure. A normal Blood pressure level reading should ideally be 120/80.
But how does a high blood pressure level affect us?
Having high blood pressure levels is quite dangerous for your body as it creates a strain on your heart forcing it to pump more blood to keep the body functions normal. As a result, over time, high BP levels might lead to stroke, heart attack and other chronic illnesses.
But don't fret yet? Because it is never too late to take care of your body. In this blog, we shall focus on 10 effective ways of lowering your blood pressure levels naturally. In such cases, medicines should always be your last resort and training your body and mind for better health should be your first. Let's go ahead and take a look.
Lose those Pounds and Exercise
It is shocking, how in every health issue, the main concern is always about those extra pounds. I agree that with the lifestyle that we usually lead, it is difficult to keep an eye on those growing pounds, but you might be amazed on how much you would do your body a favour by losing those extra pounds. Extra pounds or being overweight directly affects your blood pressure levels. This is because, with more weight, the fat layer and cholesterol levels also rise that may block your arteries. Thus, the heart has to work more to keep the circulatory system up and running.
Did you know, with every 2.2 pounds that you lose, you reduce your blood pressure by 1 millimetre of Mercury? Therefore, exercising and keeping a focus on your weight is a good way to reduce those BP levels.
Check your Sodium Intake Levels
Sodium intake is one of the major reasons for high blood pressure. If you are thinking, if lowering salt on the home-cooked food will be enough, then you are wrong. Salt is present everywhere and everything you eat. Be it a hurriedly bought burger, because you were too hungry, or those processed foods that you love to gorge on along with beer on a Friday night; everything has got a good level of salt intake on them that harms our body in ways we cannot comprehend. Therefore, keep a check on your sodium levels and eating habits if you want to lower those alarming levels of blood pressure.
Alcohol is one of the biggest reasons for high blood pressure levels. And although many of us know this fact, we tend to ignore it, for our love towards alcohol. Alcohol can cause hypertension in us and increase blood pressure levels. But, if facts are to be believed, then approximately 16% of high blood pressure cases are directly linked to alcohol. If the doctors and experts are to be believed, then the amount of alcohol should be limited to two glasses for men and two for women and should not be consumed every day of the week.
As much as alcohol is bad for high blood pressure, caffeine also promotes high blood pressure. You can experiment to confirm this. Measure your blood pressure with the help of Blood Pressure Monitors before a cup of coffee and measure it again after you have consumed it and if you see your blood pressure spiking up instantly. So, to all those coffee lovers out there, cutting back on caffeine is one of the first things that you should do, if you are a patient of high BP. Although, many studies also suggest that this spike is temporary and once the effects of caffeine are over, the blood pressure returns to normal. However, if you are a coffee lover and suffer for high blood pressure levels, then cut back on your caffeine as long term spikes in the levels may lead to heart problems.
Walking is the best exercise that you give your body. Fifteen minutes of brisk walking every day can act like magic on your blood pressure levels, giving it a much-needed boost to keep it down. When you walk or run, the blood circulation improves in the entire body, giving you the feeling of an active mind and a lighter body. When blood circulation improves, the heart has to work less to keep the circulatory system in order, thus lowering your blood sugar levels. This improves your heart health and promotes your overall well-being.
Make Potassium Rich Foods a Part of your Regular Diet
Our body is made up of a complex structure and requires many essential vitamins and minerals to keep healthy. Micronutrients and Macronutrients are two things that are though required in smaller quantities, determines our health to a great extent. One of these micronutrients is Potassium, a regulating fluid that balances and transfers nutrients and waste to and fro the cells. As a fact, one-third of the human body relies on Potassium. But, our usual diet is not inclined towards Potassium as certain significant foods contain this nutrient. Therefore, foods like, banana, mushroom, peas, cucumber etc. should be included in our diet frequently to meet the requirements of this essential nutrient.
6. Learning to Manage your Stress Levels
Stress is one big factor for not only just high BP but also many other psychological as well as physical problems in our body. Stress is like a slow poison that slowly kills us and should be heeded to if you love your health. When you are perpetually stressed out for longer periods, your heart rate tries to counter the stress by pumping more blood. This action over a course of time can lead to strokes or even death. The central nervous system goes into a flight mode if you are stressed for longer periods. This is very unhealthy for the body and thus, managing stress is a very important part of a regular lifestyle.
7. Implementing Dark chocolate or Cocoa in your Daily Diet
This one way of managing blood sugar levels is quite popular with people and also one of their favourites. Dark chocolate or Cocoa act like managing in helping the body reduce those elevated blood sugar levels. Dark chocolates or cocoa contain a compound called Flavonoids that helps in the dilation of our blood vessels. This allows the blood to blow easily through the body, reducing the pressure of the blood against the blood vessels. Therefore, regulated blood flow reduces high blood pressure levels. But before, rushing to the store to load your cart with dark chocolates remember, not all dark chocolate help in this process. Only chocolates with 80% cocoa can help your body. Eating other chocolates in excess can increase your blood sugar levels instead. So better be careful about this!
Also, you might be interested to know some best dark chocolates to include in your diet.
8. Implementing the DASH Diet
Any kind of diet always brings in more number of raised eyebrows, cynicism and scepticism. But, we can all agree to one fact, and that is, a balanced diet in any form is a good diet. DASH diet focuses on this mantra. DASH diet is all about incorporating a balanced meal in your daily lives so that the balance of essential nutrients in the body remains balanced, and promotes good health overall. DASH diet is all about wholesome fruits, vegetables, whole grains, berries, calcium-rich foods, and fat-free or low-calorie dairy products. This diet tries to implement the rule of less salt intake and more potassium intake for the heart to function better. Such a diet also keeps your weight in check and your waistline from expanding.
9. Eliminate Sugar and Refined Carbs
As much as carbohydrates are essential for the body, high consumption of carbs may lead to an increase in the levels of blood pressure. This is because the body has to work harder and the heart has to pump more, to digest the carbs leading to high blood pressure. Refined carbs like bread, pizza flour and rice are stripped of their goodness and fibres, making it unhealthy to consume. This is the reason why the fast and finger foods like burgers and pasta are said to be bad for your body because all they contribute is just carbs to the body. Similarly, sugar is a big reason for elevate blood pressure levels. Whenever you eat refined carbs or sugar, the body produces more insulin to counter the effects. These increase the BP levels.
10. Including Natural Supplements in your Daily Diet
Certain natural foods can boost the performance of the body in lowering the BP levels. Some of those foods are Folic acid in the form of leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits, Vitamin D in the form of cheese or Tuna, Magnesium in the form of almonds and tofu, CoQ10 foods in the form of orange or strawberry and natural garlic extract. Implementing these regularly will improve and manage your high BP levels.
If your BP levels are not alarmingly high, keeping the above practices in mind can give you a healthy heart and a sound mind. Our lives are not easier nowadays. With a competitive work-life, keeping a healthy balanced body is a tough job. But with baby steps like the above, you can achieve your health goals easily. After all, work should never come at the price of our health.