How much salt should I eat each day? Should I cut out alcohol completely? Is it indispensable to drink eight glasses of water every day? What about coffee or tea? These questions are common, but they don't always provide clear answers.
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of your arteries. It's measured in millimeters (mm) of mercury, or Hg. The normal range for systolic blood pressure (the top number) is 100 mmHg or less, and for diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) should be 60 mmHg or less.
Blood pressure is affected by many factors, including age, weight, stress level, hormone levels, medications, smoking, alcohol use, caffeine intake, sodium intake, physical fitness, sleep patterns, and genetics.
High blood pressure (hypertension) affects over 40% of adults in the United States. Hypertension is defined as having systolic blood pressure greater than 140 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure greater than 90 mmHg. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and other health problems.
5 Ways to Lower High Blood Pressure
There are several ways to lower high blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day. This means cutting back on processed foods and adding more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats, beans, nuts, seeds, and fish. It also suggests drinking plenty of fluids daily.
The following are some natural remedies for hypertension:
1. Reducing Salt Intake
Reducing salt consumption can help lower blood pressure. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who reduced their salt intake by 1 g per day had a significant drop in blood pressure.
Reduce your sodium intake by eating fewer salty snacks such as chips, pretzels, crackers, and pizza crusts. Try replacing them with healthier options like fresh fruit, vegetable sticks, hummus, and yogurt dip.
Also, limit your consumption of canned soups and sauces, which often contain added salt. Instead, make homemade soup from scratch using broth instead of bouillon cubes or powder. Use herbs and spices to add flavor to your food rather than salt.
2. Increase Your Water Consumption
Drinking enough water is essential to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, adults need at least 64 ounces of fluid per day. If you're not getting this amount from food alone, consider drinking more water with meals.
3. Eat More Fruits & Vegetables
Fruit and vegetable juices may be beneficial for lowering blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables contain potassium which helps regulate blood pressure. Eating 5 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables per day has been shown to significantly lower blood pressure.
In one study, participants were given either fruit juice or placebo pills twice a day for six weeks. Those who drank the juice saw a decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
4. Add Fiber To Your Diet
Adding fiber to your diet can help lower blood pressure. Eating fiber-rich foods such as apples, pears, oatmeal, bran cereal, legumes, and green leafy vegetables can help lower blood pressure. Fiber binds with cholesterol and bile acids, so they pass through the digestive tract without being absorbed into the body.
In one study, researchers gave two groups of people a high-fiber diet. One group was instructed to consume 25 grams of dietary fiber, while the second group consumed only 10 grams of fiber. After three months, those who ate more fiber had better blood pressure control.
5. Exercise Regularly
Exercise can have a positive effect on blood pressure. Studies have shown that regular exercise improves cardiovascular health and reduces blood pressure by up to 10 points. In fact, it's recommended that individuals with hypertension exercise regularly.
Try walking briskly for 30 minutes every other day. You don't even have to go far; just start where you live and walk until you reach your destination. Or try swimming, biking, hiking, dancing, tennis, or any other activity that gets your heart pumping.
How To Lower Blood Pressure Naturally With Foods
The best way to naturally reduce your blood pressure is to eat a well-balanced diet, get plenty of restful sleep each night, maintain an active lifestyle, avoid excessive salt consumption, and manage stress.
The following are some foods that have been proven to lower blood pressure:
Berries like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries all contain anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that improve circulation and lower blood pressure. They also help prevent inflammation, which can lead to high blood pressure.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, an antioxidant compound that lowers blood pressure. Sulforaphane also increases nitric oxide production, relaxing blood vessels and decreasing blood pressure.
Cabbage contains indole-3-carbinol, another phytochemical that works similarly to sulforaphane. Indole-3-carboxaldehyde helps increase nitric oxide production, resulting in decreased blood pressure.
Beans are rich in potassium, magnesium, and folate, nutrients that help keep your blood pressure under control. Folate may also play a role in lowering blood pressure.
5. Citrus fruits
Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, tangerines, and kumquats contain citrate, a natural acid shown to lower blood pressure.
6. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, compounds that protect your body from free radicals. Free radicals cause damage to cells throughout your body, including your blood vessels. This can lead to high blood cholesterol levels, increased triglycerides, and elevated blood pressure. Flavonoids counteract these effects and therefore help lower blood pressure.
Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has anti-inflammatory properties that decrease blood pressure. Allicin also enhances the effect of vitamin B6 on homocysteine metabolism, which helps lower blood pressure.8. Ginger
Ginger contains gingerols, compounds that work as vasodilators (they open up blood vessels). Vasodilation causes your heart to pump more efficiently, which results in lower blood pressure.
9. Green tea
Green tea contains catechins and polyphenols that help boost nitric oxide production, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
Nuts are packed with healthy fats, fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, and Brazil nuts are perfect for you because they're loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help lower blood pressure and promote cardiovascular health.
Lowering your blood pressure is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health. It will not only make you feel better, but it will also help prevent serious diseases such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
Eating a nutritious diet full of fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, nuts, and seeds will help you stay healthier and live longer. Try incorporating them into your diet today! By following the list of foods that lower blood pressure mentioned earlier, you'll be taking a big step toward leading a healthier life.