It’s crucial that high blood pressure, or hypertension, is detected and treated as early as possible to prevent developing serious problems like heart diseases, organ damage, and stroke. A good practice is to monitor your blood pressure from time to time, especially if certain risk factors hold true for you, such as older age, family history of hypertension, obesity, etc.
Discuss with your doctor regarding the right treatment plan for you. In addition to taking the medication that the doctor may recommend you, incorporating certain lifestyle modifications and good self-care habits can be quite fruitful. Here are some natural ways that can be beneficial in managing high blood pressure.
1. Watch Out for Sodium in Your Diet
One of the first steps you should be taking is cutting back on excessive sodium in your diet. This may require some effort since sodium tends to be present in so many foods that we are quite used to eating. Whether it’s packaged and frozen foods, sandwiches, different sauces, soups, or pizza, they’re all rich in sodium. To ensure that you’re not going overboard with sodium, be mindful towards your consumption of these foods. Minimize eating processed foods and opt for home-cooked healthy meals. When cooking, try and use different seasonings and spices for flavoring, instead of relying on just salt.
2. Shed a Few Pounds If You Need To
There is a close link between your weight and your blood pressure. An increase in weight can lead to an increase in your blood pressure as well. On the other hand, if you’re a couple or more pounds over your ideal weight, then losing the excess weight can actually have a positive effect on your blood pressure by lowering it. For weight loss, your focus shouldn’t be just on reducing the number on weighing scale. You want to pay attention to losing the belly fat too. Losing both excessive weight and abdominal fat is important for blood pressure management.
3. Ease the Stress and Worries in Life
You might want to take stock of what causes you to become stressed in the first place. Is it your to-do list that’s just way long for you to get done in a day? Does being around certain people lead to a stressful situation for you? Whatever triggers you’re able to identify, see how you can fix those and prevent stress for yourself.
Healthy stress management is an important factor when it comes to managing hypertension, the focus word here being “healthy”. If turning to cigarettes or binge-eating is how you’re used to managing your stress, then you are only further worsening the problem of high blood pressure. This is why it’s essential that you find healthy outlets for releasing the stress in your life.
Meditation and pranayama can serve as good ways to relax when you feel stressed. Regardless of how busy your day may be, make sure to dedicate some time of the day exclusively to something that’s enjoyable and calming for you.
4. Make Room for the Dash Diet
We’ve talked about the foods that you should avoid when dealing with hypertension. So, what are the foods that you should be eating instead? Short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, DASH is quite a useful diet plan for high blood pressure management. This diet encourages having foods like fruits, vegetables, poultry, whole grains, dairy foods that are either free of fat or low in fat, etc. The diet also asks that you restrict certain foods like foods rich in trans fats, saturated fat, and sodium. Sweets as well as beverages loaded with sugar are also a no-no in this diet. The great thing about DASH diet is that it’s not only great for keeping blood pressure in check, but it also lays down eating practices that are beneficial for overall health.
5. Do Your Best to Quit Smoking Cigarettes
Smoking cigarettes can be a hard addiction to overcome, but you’ll have better health to be grateful for when you do overcome it. Whether you smoke yourself or you’re in some way exposed to second-hand smoking, you want to avoid both for the healthy maintenance of your blood pressure. Quitting cigarettes is an absolute must for anyone with hypertension, otherwise you could become prone to developing severe health complications.
6. Engage in Physical Exercise with Consistency
The benefits of exercising on a regular basis are plenty, one of which is its role in improving heart health and thus bringing down blood pressure levels. Moreover, if you’re trying to lose weight, then exercising along with a healthy diet can be immensely helpful. We have discussed how important reducing extra weight can be towards reducing high blood pressure.
For your exercise, you could try aerobic activities like jogging, walking, cycling, dancing, etc. Ensure consistency with your exercise routine. If you struggle with high blood pressure, then talk to your doctor about which type of exercise would be suitable for your health conditions, before you begin any physical activity. You shouldn’t do any exercise that causes excessive strain for you.
7. Avoid Sitting Continuously for Extended Times
For a lot of us, sitting is an unavoidable part of our everyday living. Whether we’re working, commuting, or watching TV, it’s not uncommon to spend better part of the day sitting, and that too continuously. But this sedentary living may take a serious toll on your general health. Avoid sitting continuously for long hours with no breaks and try to keep your day as active as possible.
If your workplace is nearby, then walking may be better than taking your car. No matter how deeply engrossed you may be with your work or your favorite TV show, remind yourself to leave the desk/TV and walk about a little, every once a while. Choose taking stairs over elevator wherever it’s feasible. Simple ways like these can greatly help in cutting down your sitting hours and staying active throughout the day.