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Looking for 5 Easy Tips on How to Lower Blood Pressure
Reducing blood pressure, why it’s important
High blood pressure is extremely prevalent among both men and women globally. Hypertension affects one in three people in the US, and over 1 billion people worldwide. Hypertension refers to the force of circulating blood on the artery walls, and those with high hypertension can be faced with numerous health problems, along with its negative impacts on heart health. Potentially related health problems include heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
As such, monitoring your blood pressure is vitally important, and for those with high levels, focusing on reduction should be a priority. There are a number of things that can be done to reduce blood pressure and increase heart health (without the need for medication). In this article, we will give you the tips and lifestyle changes you should make to reduce and maintain lower blood pressure levels.
1. Use Exercise to Lower Blood Pressure
Frequent exercise leads to increased heart health, along with a stronger heart that can pump blood more efficiently. This lowers the pressure of blood on arteries. An expensive gym membership is not needed to reap the benefits of exercise, and one can lower B&P outside the gym environment. Exerting stress on the body by making it harder to breathe and lightly increasing the heart rate will be enough to reduce hypertension. Cardiovascular exercise is a great option for those trying to combat hypertension. Brisk walking, jogging, swimming, and biking all fall into this category.
For those looking to do moderate exercise to lower their risk for cardiovascular disease, a thirty-minute walk five days a week is a great place to start if you have no regular exercise routine currently. Hard exercise such as jogging for twenty minutes three to four days a week will have similar beneficial effects on the heart rate.
2. Keep Stress to a Minimum
Stress plays a huge role in hypertension. When stressed, hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released leading to a faster heart rate and constricted blood vessels, which increases the heart rate. Continuous or chronic stress can negatively affect general well-being by reducing heart health, along with damaging blood vessels and kidneys.
Having unhealthy stress habits increases hypertension, which leads to a greater risk of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and other heart-related complications. Stress can also lead to various mental difficulties which can have further negative effects on the body’s general well-being. Although not directly affecting blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and loneliness all have a negative effect on heart health by contributing to chronically elevated stress hormones.
3. Reduce Alcohol
While having three drinks in one sitting only sparks temporary increases in B&P, frequent binge drinking can have long-term negative effects. For those seeking to lower heart rate levels, a reduction in alcohol consumption should be seriously considered. Heavy drinkers should lower their consumption slowly as suddenly stopping alcohol consumption can actually raise blood pressure temporarily. Ideally one would slowly reduce their alcohol consumption over a one to two-week period to avoid any potential spikes in blood pressure.
4. Eat Dark Chocolate Daily
Although it may seem counterintuitive, eating dark chocolate is a good option for those seeking to lower heart rate levels. This is due to the presence of flavonoids, heart-healthy compounds that cause dilation of the vessels.
Portion control is important, as overconsumption of dark chocolate can cause one to pass their daily calorie intake. This can lead to weight gain which will instead increase blood pressure. One small square of dark chocolate a day will be enough to receive the heart-healthy benefits of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate with fifty to seventy percent cocoa has the biggest impact, while sweetened dark chocolate should be avoided, as this will increase refined carbs and added sugar intake.
5. Start Practicing Meditation and Deep Breathing
Although this can be considered by some to be stress-related, meditation can have effects on blood pressure beyond simply reducing stress. Meditation activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This system becomes engaged when the body is relaxed, and while activated the heart rate is slowed and blood pressure lowered.
Breathing exercises and deep breathing techniques have similarly beneficial effects on reducing blood pressure, and also activate the parasympathetic nervous system. For those looking to use deep breathing techniques to lower blood pressure, a good start is to inhale through the nose for 4 seconds and then exhale through the mouth for four seconds. Ten to fifteen minutes of this daily will help reduce blood pressure levels.
Keeping Your Heart Rate Low Moving Forward
With so many medications on the market, trying to reduce hypertension naturally can seem like a hard, grueling task. But it doesn’t have to be by following the steps outlined above. With our Nitric Oxide Supplements to support you, small changes in your lifestyle can go a long way to increasing your general well-being, and heart health, while also reducing your risk for cardiovascular disease.
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- Fisher, N. (2016). Stress raising your blood pressure? Take a deep breath – Harvard Health Blog. [online] Harvard Health Blog. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/stress-raising-your-blood-pressure-take-a-deep-breath-201602159168 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2020].