High Blood pressure (BP) or hypertension affects nearly 31% of Americans. Even teenagers are experiencing elevated BP these days and it is estimated that by 2025 nearly 1.56 billion adults are likely to suffer from this lifestyle disease. If you are looking for ways how to lower blood pressure naturally, you have come to the right place. Here we will discuss 8 fast tips that can help lower blood pressure naturally and quickly, and also discuss in brief, the right diet to follow when having high blood pressure.
1) Know where you stand
Lowering blood pressure becomes an effective process once you know your numbers. Blood pressure is expressed in the form of systolic pressure and diastolic pressure in millimeters of Mercury (mm of Hg). For normal BP, your systolic pressure (the upper number) should be less than 120mm of Hg. If it is higher than 120, it indicates that your heart is working overtime for pumping blood through your blood vessels which in turn is exerting pressure on your arteries. Likewise, the diastolic or the bottom blood pressure number must ideally be less than 80mm of Hg. If it is more than 80, it indicates that your heart is working harder than normal to fill your left ventricular chamber with blood. Over time, this could lead to congestive heart failure.
2) Eat vegetarian/plant based diets
Research has shown that people who eat meat, especially red meat, tend to have high blood pressure more than those who eat a diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. So, if needed, switch to plant- based or vegetarian foods immediately. Changing the way you eat is one of fastest ways how to lower blood pressure naturally. In just 6 weeks, you can expect a drop of 5/2 mm of Hg by switching to vegetarian food.
3) Reduce your sodium intake
Higher the level of sodium in your blood, greater is your blood pressure. So reduce your salt intake. Keep the salt shaker away from your table when you dine. Avoid seasoning your dishes and recipes with salt and instead use herbs and spices to flavor the food. Spices like cinnamon, oregano, pepper, cilantro etc can add tremendous flavor to food without any associated sodium. Also read labels on packaged food items. An average American eats nearly 3000mg of sodium daily. Try to reduce this to less than 1000mg which means up to 1 teaspoon of salt only on a daily basis.
4) Increase your potassium intake
Potassium balances the sodium electrolyte in your blood. So try and include foods high in potassium. These include bananas, orange juice, tomatoes, raisins and figs etc. Aim to get in at least 4500mg of Potassium daily as a part of lowering your blood pressure.
5) Maintain healthy BMI
BMI stands for the body mass index and is a measure of your weight adjusted as per your height. In general, healthy BMI should be between 18. 5 and 24.9. BMI also depends on your waistline. Adult men with a waist circumference greater than 40 inches and non-pregnant women with waist circumference greater than 35 inches are usually at a higher risk of hypertension. So make sure you exercise and maintain healthy BMI to lower blood pressure naturally.
6) Exercise for at least 30 minutes daily
Men and women with hypertension must ensure indulging in aerobic activities like jogging, walking, swimming, cycling etc to lose weight and also maintain healthy blood pressure. A regular exercise schedule can help one expect lower blood pressure in just 3 months. Becoming active has been proven to reduce BP by 4-9mm of Hg.
7) Limit intake of alcohol
Women must not drink more than one alcoholic beverage daily and men should limit themselves to no more than two alcoholic beverages on a daily basis. Modifying your alcohol intake can lower systolic BP by nearly 2-4mm of Hg.
8) Quit smoking
Nicotine can damage arteries and also raises your blood pressure. People who smoke have twice the risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke compared to those who do not smoke. Smokers also impact those around them negatively in that; second hand smoke can raise the risk of heart diseases by nearly 25%. So, if you smoke, quit it not just to lower blood pressure but also for someone you love.
Diet to lower blood pressure naturally
Include more of the following food groups to lower blood pressure naturally:
- Whole grains-Brown rice, whole wheat pastas or breads, buckwheat, quinoa, barley, oats.
- Beans and legumes– Kidney beans, black eyed peas, Pinto beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, split peas, chickpeas, tofu, edamame beans etc.
- Vegetables– All fresh or frozen veggies especially, leafy green vegetables, kale, broccoli, avocado, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage etc.
- Fruits– All berries, bananas, apples, kiwi, grapefruit, mango, guava, papaya, oranges, nectarines, tangerines, melons, cantaloupes etc.
Apart from this, you could follow the DASH diet which is the Dietary Approach To Solving Hypertension. This is a low sodium diet having plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meat like white chicken, turkey and salmon etc.DASH is 2000 calorie per day diet and it is proven to lower blood pressure fast.
If despite these lifestyle changes, your blood pressure remains high, make sure you see a doctor immediately. You might need medication like diuretics to lower blood pressure fast. Some people also need to titrate their drug dose or might even need more than one drug to manage their blood pressure. Make sure you mention to your doctor any non prescription drugs you may be taking as some of these could interfere with your blood pressure medication. Take all drugs as prescribed and without fail. This is very important to manage and lower blood pressure quickly on a day to day basis.