Dealing with high blood pressure? You’re not alone. In fact, 85 million Americans fight high blood pressure (hypertension) on a daily basis according to the American Heart Association. And it is not all genetics to blame. Diet and lifestyle are crucial factors to maintaining a healthy blood pressure that powers good blood circulation and heart performance. Check out these surprising but effective ways to lower blood pressure.
5 Unexpected Ways to Fight High Blood Pressure and natural ways to lower blood pressure
Perhaps you expect your doctor or a home health nurse to keep your blood pressure on track? Empower your own heart health by taking control of your blood pressure treatment with these helpful steps to fight High Blood Pressure.
- Understand why blood pressure is important
The blood flowing all through your body’s circulatory system has a pressure, or force, at which it pumps based on your heart’s makeup, function, and the rate of your heartbeat. It’s important to maintain a healthy blood pressure to make sure your body is getting the oxygen and energy it needs to subsist. When your blood pressure is too high, it puts added strain and pressure on the walls of your arteries and heart, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
- Buy a monitor
You can purchase a variety of blood pressure monitors at local pharmacies or online. A classic cuff with pump (or sphygmomanometer) can do the trick if you have a stethoscope and learn how to read the systolic (pressure in blood vessels when your heart beats) and diastolic (pressure in blood vessels when your heart rests) numbers – this chart from org helps. Or you can buy a digital arm or wrist cuff monitor. Just remember to follow the directions for use closely and test your monitor’s accuracy every 6 months or so against your doctor’s.
- Track your daily blood pressure
Track your blood pressure by checking it daily at roughly the same time of day and writing down the results. Bookmark changes to your diet or exercise routines along with your blood pressure recordings to pick up on positive changes you’re making that are helping lower blood pressure. Also use daily self-monitoring to recognize possible causes or spikes in your blood pressure like drinking coffee or talking to your mother-in-law on the phone.
Drink Beet Juice to Fight High Blood Pressure
Sweet, earthy beet juice is a popular choice of drinks that lower blood pressure. The velvety, beautifully purple beet contains naturally occurring nitrates that have been shown in multiple studies to ease blood pressure, sometimes even within a day of drinking a glass. As well, 1 serving size of beets (or beetroot) has over 10% of your daily value of potassium, an electrolyte vital to keeping your heart beating at a normal rhythm.
Find fresh beet juice at a juicery or whole foods store, or buy your own beetroot at the grocery and simply roast in the oven until tender – eat as is, or add to a fresh salad.
Try Yoga to Fight High Blood Pressure
Not only do the meditative and relaxing components of yoga help you de-stress and relieve back pain, but they have been proven to lower blood pressure as well. The gentle, flowing muscle stretches of yoga combined with deep breathing techniques are great for relieving anxiety that may be pushing up your blood pressure.
When your body’s own stress hormones elevate renin, an enzyme in your kidney that raises blood pressure, yoga and regular deep breathing can help reduce the levels of those stress hormones. Gentle yoga and beginner’s yoga classes can be found near you using sites like YogaFinde, or you can livestream instructional yoga videos on Youtube from the comfort of your own home to fight high blood pressure.
Stay Hydrated to lower blood pressure
Healthy hydration is one of the most important, but often overlooked, natural ways to lower blood pressure. Having trouble getting your full 8 glasses of water a day? This could have a serious impact on your blood pressure. Water essentially helps power your body’s blood flow, and when you are not properly hydrated, your body’s blood vessels, arteries, and muscles have to work that much harder to circulate blood and keep your organs and muscles working.
Your body also purposefully retains sodium if you are chronically dehydrated which in turn increases blood volume, and thus blood pressure. Incorporate simple water reminders into your daily schedule by doing things like setting alerts on your phone, drinking a glass of water each time you go to the restroom and with each meal.
You heard that right – giving back and helping others can help prevent hypertension, especially in older adults. A Carnegie Mellon University study published in Psycology and Aging revealed that adults over the age of 50 who routinely volunteered were less likely to develop hypertension than their non-volunteer counterparts.
Volunteering is known to have emotional and mental benefits like promoting positive moods and feelings, but its physical perks are just as exciting too. Volunteering can involve increased physical activity which helps lower blood pressure, as well as helps combat stress and anxiety which can contribute to hypertension as well.
Lowering high blood pressure takes work, but with daily, small steps towards a healthier lifestyle, you’ll be surprised how manageable it is. Helping others, remembering to drink water, self-monitoring, and trying new, proven activities like yoga are just a few simple ways to get started. The more you know and the more body-aware you become, the better equipped you are to tackle hypertension for good.