Hypertension is generally defined as systolic blood pressure 140 mmHg, or diastolic blood pressure 90 mmHg. A person who currently uses blood pressure-lowering medication is also defined as having hypertension. Hypertension is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Hypertension affects nearly one-third of U.S. residents aged 18 years (approximately 75 million persons), and in approximately one-half of adults with hypertension (nearly 35 million persons), it is uncontrolled. Among these 35 million U.S. residents with uncontrolled hypertension, 33% (11.5 million persons) are not aware of their hypertension, 20% (7 million persons) are aware of their hypertension, but are not being treated for it, and approximately 47% (16.1 million persons) are aware of their hypertension and being treated for it, but treatment (by medication and/or lifestyle modification) is not adequately controlling their blood pressure.
But there’s good news. There are a number of things you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally.
Here are natural ways to combat high blood pressure:
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower high blood pressure. Regular exercise helps make your heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood, which lowers the pressure in your arteries.
Reduce your sodium intake. Salt intake is high around the world. In large part, this is due to processed and prepared foods. For this reason, many public health efforts are aimed at lowering salt in the food industry. In many studies, salt has been linked to high blood pressure and heart events, like stroke.
Less alcohol. Drinking alcohol can raise blood pressure. In fact, alcohol is linked to 16% of high blood pressure cases around the world. While some research has suggested that low-to-moderate amounts of alcohol may protect the heart, those benefits may be offset by negative effects.
Eat potassium-rich foods. Vegetables, especially leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Fruit, including melons, bananas, avocados, oranges, and apricots. Dairy, such as milk and yogurt. Tuna and salmon. Nuts and seeds. Beans.
Eat calcium-enriched foods and food with magnesium. Milk, cheese, tofu, green leafy vegetables, acorn squash, trout, black-eyed peas, and okra are all high in calcium. Nuts and seeds, wild rice, and cocoa are all high in magnesium.
Learn to manage stress. Stress is a key driver of high blood pressure. When you’re chronically stressed, your body is in a constant fight-or-flight mode. On a physical level, that means a faster heart rate and constricted blood vessels. Work less and listen to soothing music. Try deep breathing and meditation.
Eat dark chocolate.
Lose any extra weight.
Cut refined sugar and carbs.
Eat berries. Snack on them and incorporate them into your meals.
Ref. medicalnewstoday.com, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
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