Even if you take drugs for blood pressure, adding these healthy steps can lower your blood pressure even farther – and allow you to get the most benefit from the lowest dose of medication possible.
Not currently taking medication? Great! Taking these great steps now can prevent you from needing medication in the future!
Make reduced-Sodium products your first choice
Cutting your sodium intake by just 300 mg (the amount of two slices of processed cheese) reduces systolic pressure by 2 to 4 points, and diastolic pressure by 1 to 2 points. Cut more sodium, and your pressure drops even lower. Processed foods, not a salt shaker, are the biggest source of excess sodium in our diets. Here are some other quick ideas:
Of course there are many reasons to not smoke or quit smoking, but here is another one. The nicotine in tobacco constricts blood vessels, immediately raising the pressure within them.
Have a banana, melon slice, or handful of dried apricots every day
All of these fruits are rich in potassium, nicknamed the “unsalt “ by experts because of its ability to keep blood pressure down. Other high-potassium foods include spinach, lima beans, sweet potatoes, and avocados.
Snack on Soy nuts
An ounce of crunchy roasted soybeans cut systolic blood pressure readings by 10 points in one study. Look for unsalted varieties in your supermarket or health food store.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds on your morning cereal
Then mix 2 tablespoons into your spaghetti sauce, yogurt, or sprinkle on a salad later in the day. This could lower systolic pressure significantly, one study found. The secret ingredient? Probably the omega-3 fatty acids in flax.
Take Tea tomorrow morning (and afternoon) instead of coffee
For every cup of tea you drink in a day (up to four) your systolic blood pressure could fall by 2 points and your diastolic pressure could drop by 1 point, an Australian study suggests.
Stroll four times a day
Exercise cut systolic pressure by 5 points and diastolic pressure by 3 points in a University of Illinois study of 21 women and men. But volunteers who took four brisk 10-minute walks a day kept blood pressure low for a whopping 11 hours, versus 7 hours for those who exercised for 40 continues minutes once a day. Frequent activity keeps artery walls more fit and flexible.
Avoid overuse of pain relievers
Cut back on nonsteroidal anti-flammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen. Studies show that these popular pain relievers can raise your blood pressure if you take them frequently.
Come back for Wednesday’s blog for some more great tips that you can do today to lower your high blood pressure and keep it there for good!
Doctors once shrugged off high blood pressure in their older patients as a normal sign of aging. Some believe this “medical lapse” contributed to the high rates of heart attacks and strokes in people over age 55.
Today, all that has changed. While your odds for high blood pressure do rise with every passing birthday – experts estimate that 90 percent of us will have elevated pressure at some point after age 55 – Lowering it has never been easier.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a silent killer that plays a role in 75 percent of heart attacks and strokes. When modern living and genetics team up to stiffen artery linings, blood pressure increases. This faster, harder flow of blood damages blood vessel walls, making it easier for heart-threatening plaque to form. At the same time, the extra pressure can cause plaque buildups to break off; these are the clots that kill. When clots block the arteries that feed fuel and oxygen to your heart, that’s a heart attack. When clots block the blood vessels to your brain, that’s a stroke. And when they block the vessels to your abdomen, that’s an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Scary stuff.. yet there’s more. High blood pressure can also enlarge and weaken your heart, and even damage your eyes and kidneys.
Lowering your blood pressure can cut your odds of major health problems significantly. Stroke, by 30 percent; heart attack, by 23 percent; heart failure, by 55 percent; dementia risk, by 50 percent. At the same time, it can prevent or delay kidney damage and guard your eyes against vision loss brought on by severe hypertension.
The new thinking about high blood pressure is that lower is always better. The standard advise to keep blood pressure readings below 140/90 isn’t good enough, experts now say.
Damage to arteries actually begins at blood pressure levels that doctors once considered optimal, even stellar. Evidence gathered from 61 blood pressure studies reveals that for most adults, risk of death from heart disease and stroke begin to rise when blood pressure is as low as 115/75. After that, death risk doubles for every 20-point rise in systolic pressure (the first number) and every 10-point rise in diastolic pressure (the second number). On the flip side, lowering your blood pressure could actually help unclog your arteries, a surprising study from the Cleveland Clinic has found.
The good news: It’s worth taking all the small steps you can to cut your risks.
Lifestyle plays an important role in lowering or keeping your blood pressure low, where you want it to be. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication now, or in the future.
Come back on Monday where I give 13 steps you can do right now for Better Blood Pressure.
Remember, Good Health doesn’t just happen, You have to work at it! See you back here on Monday!
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