- Dr. Christa O'Leary
10 Natural Ways to Take Back Control of Your Blood Pressure
One of the most fascinating parts of being human is that our bodies are constantly at war with us. We have two "brains" in our head, one for short-term memory and one for long-term memory, but they don't always agree on what should be done. When we tell ourselves to do something like drink water or go to bed early, it can take hours before the body actually does anything about it! This is why it's good to know some tricks and tips to make your body more likely to do what you want.
One of those things is blood pressure, which has a massive impact on our heart and cardiovascular system. If we're constantly having high blood pressure, then this can lead to very bad health problems like heart attacks or strokes. So if you want to keep your heart and cardiovascular system healthy and happy, here are 10 ways you can regulate blood pressure naturally!
1. Get enough sleep [but not too much]
This is one of the most common things we hear about living a healthier life - getting more sleep. We're all guilty of staying up late on Netflix or playing video games into the early hours of the morning, but it turns out that might be bad for you.
When we go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning, our bodies release hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to help us get through the day. A lack of sleep can make these "fight or flight" hormones too prevalent in your body, which leads to increase heart rate and blood pressure. There's nothing worse than being tired from staying up too late, so go to sleep early tonight!
2. Get a moderate amount of exercise every day
Our bodies were made for movement, and there are countless studies that show how exercising can help lower blood pressure by releasing endorphins. According to the Mayo Clinic, it's important to get moderate exercise every day rather than intense exercise all at once. Why? Because "physical activity helps reduce blood pressure by causing your heart rate and blood circulation to increase, which boosts the amount of blood and oxygen flowing throughout your body." You don't have to become a professional athlete to gain these benefits - a brisk walk around the block once a day is enough to make you stronger and healthier!
3. Eat more potassium-rich foods like bananas and potatoes
When we hear healthy eating habits, we usually think about what we should cut out of our diets rather than what we should add in! But it turns out that adding certain things can help us regulate blood pressure. Potassium is one of those things, which our bodies need to regulate the amount of fluid in our blood vessels. According to a study recorded by the American Heart Association, "An increase in potassium intake from fruits and vegetables may contribute to a reduction in risk for high blood pressure."
4. Try a natural decaffeinated tea instead of coffee
Most of us rely on some sort of caffeinated beverage to help get us through the day. Whether you love black tea or coffee, just remember that too much caffeine can put a strain on your heart and cardiovascular system as well as increase blood pressure. That's why we recommend trying out decaf tea instead! There are plenty of delicious flavors out there - just make sure you're not adding any sugar or milk to it!
5. Take your time cooking meals
When you're in the kitchen, don't do everything at once! Cooking food is something that should be done slowly and carefully, so that means that microwaving a meal faster won't bring you the same results. According to a study recorded by PubMed, "Preparing food at home, particularly with fresh ingredients, has been linked to improved heart health. It's also linked to other healthy habits like watching less television and drinking alcohol less frequently." When you take your time cooking your meal, you're more likely to do it the right way!
6. Drink green tea
Drinking green tea is already a great accomplishment - there are so many reasons people drink it, and we're sure we've barely scratched the surface. Not only is it healthy for your body and tastes good, but according to a study recorded by NCBI Research, "Several studies have shown that green tea drinkers have lower blood pressure than non-green tea drinkers." So start drinking more green tea today!
7. Eat foods that are high in magnesium
Potassium is on this list twice because it's so important for your body, and magnesium is another of these essential minerals. It might be surprising to hear, but according to PubMed Health, "The smooth muscle cells in the walls of your blood vessels need magnesium to function properly." This means that consuming foods high in magnesium can help regulate your blood pressure. So be sure to eat more bananas and potatoes on the list above!
8. Avoid caffeine and alcohol
We already told you that drinking too much caffeine can increase your blood pressure, and we're telling you again! According to the NHS, "Caffeine and alcohol both increase the amount of water in your body and can lead to temporary bloating. This can slightly raise your blood pressure for a while." Having too much caffeine or alcohol in your system means you're more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, so try cutting back on these if you notice that your blood pressure is especially high.
9. Perform some sort of physical activity every day
Aerobic exercises are great for your heart, but did you know that they're also good for reducing blood pressure? According to NCBI Research, "Regular aerobic exercise can drop systolic blood pressure by 2 to 10 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg)." This means that adding an aerobic exercise, like running or biking, to your daily life can really help keep your systolic blood pressure in check.
10. Stimulate acupuncture points
Acupuncture is fantastic for treating all sorts of things, but did you know that it's also good for reducing high blood pressure? According to NCBI Research, "Acupuncture has been shown to reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure." So if you're looking for an alternative treatment, acupuncture might be for you!
Although medication can help manage your high blood pressure, its side effects are often not worth the convenience. If you want to lower your blood pressure naturally without having to rely on medication, try out some of these easy suggestions that you can do every day! Just remember - eating well and exercising is always key to staying healthy. Good luck!
We're not saying that high blood pressure isn't a huge issue. One hundred million US adults suffer from high blood pressure - only thirty-seven percent of them have it under control, because the rest are either not aware or aren't being treated for it. This means that sixty-three million people in the US have uncontrolled hypertension, and this number is only going to go up if we continue with our diet and lifestyle habits! It's a pretty big problem, so we're glad you're here. If you want support with your blood pressure, give us a call today to schedule your appointment.