Most people know about the strong link between a healthy diet and disease prevention. But did you know that what you eat or don’t eat may lower or prevent high blood pressure? Also, weight loss, if you are overweight or obese, is a safe and effective way to lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Losing just 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) can help reduce your blood pressure. In general, the more weight you lose, the lower your blood pressure. Losing weight also makes any blood pressure medications you’re taking more effective. You and your doctor can determine your target weight and the best way to achieve it.
High blood pressure is more common in people who are overweight or obese. But studies show that losing weight has benefits in lowering high blood pressure. Losing weight may also help reduce medications needed to control high blood pressure.
An unhealthy lifestyle will raise your blood pressure over time. And the higher your blood pressure becomes, the higher your risk of having a stroke or heart attack in the future.
Regular physical activity — at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). And it doesn’t take long to see a difference. If you haven’t been active, increasing your exercise level can lower your blood pressure within just a few weeks.
Foods that Lower Blood Pressure Levels
Celery contains phthalides that help muscles in the artery walls to relax, thereby promoting blood flow and reducing the blood pressure. According to studies, eating four celery stalks a day is good enough to decrease blood pressure levels.
All types of berries are good. However, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are among the best when it comes to lowering blood pressure in your body as they contribute loads of vitamin C, food fiber, potassium and other useful compounds.
Research has shown that eating of oatmeal helps regulate blood pressure levels. The report has been published in the Preventive Medicine in Managed Care scientific journal. According to the report, 73% of those participants with daily oat cereal intake for consecutive 12 weeks had been able to stop or cut down on medication for hypertension.
A recent medical study has found that broccoli or its sprouts may lower the risk of hypertension, stroke and heart disease. It is found that the compound contained in them, known as glucoraphanin, is a potent antioxidant that helps get rid of harmful free radicals.
Bananas are a great source of potassium that is essential to control the blood pressure, according to a famous dietician, Stephanie Dean. On top of that, banana is very low in sodium. The superb potassium and sodium ratio of banana makes it an excellent food to regulate blood pressure.
The following steps to lower cholesterol without drugs:
- Change your diet. A plant-based diet, which includes large amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with meat substitutes like beans, lowers cholesterol naturally.
- Take a plant sterols supplement. Plant sterols, also known as plant stanols, are the plant version of cholesterol, and when consumed in sufficient amounts they block the absorption of human cholesterol in the small intestine. There are products that have plant sterols, like special margarines, but they also contain chemicals, so you’re better off with a two-gram daily supplement.
- Start your day with oatmeal. Oatmeal is the best food defense against cholesterol. The reason is that oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which turns into a gel in the body, which helps you feel full and also interferes with the digestion of cholesterol, whisking it out of your body. Oat bran and cold oat cereals, like Cheerios, do this as well.
- Get 8-10 hours of sleep a night. Sleep deprivation hikes low-density LDL cholesterol (known as the “bad” cholesterol), contributes to high blood pressure and leads to overeating. If you snore or find yourself excessively sleepy during the day, get checked for the common and dangerous sleep disorder known as sleep apnea.
- Check your vitamin D level. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to high cholesterol. The body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D from the sun diminishes as you age. Get your vitamin D levels checked with a blood test. If your level is low, take a daily vitamin D supplement.
- Get your blood sugar level checked. You should be looking for a fasting blood sugar level of 100 or less. A too-high blood glucose level leads to elevated LDL cholesterol and high triglycerides, which is a dangerous blood fat that is a cholesterol remnant.
- Eat less gluten. Our American high-gluten, wheat-based diet leads to obesity and also to inflammation, which research shows may be an even a more dangerous heart disease driver than cholesterol. If you do eat wheat products, make sure they are whole grain, and stay away from multigrain products, which are no healthier than baked goods made with refined flour.
- Exercise one hour daily. A brisk one-hour walk will help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, and build up your heart’s collateral blood flow.
- Take a red rice yeast supplement. Red rice yeast is traditionally used in Chinese medicine. It contains a substance that is chemically identical to the active ingredient in a statin drug. Take it with your doctor’s guidance.
- Dust your food with cinnamon. In one study researchers found that about ½ tablespoon of cinnamon daily cut total cholesterol by 26 percent. Cinnamon is also an excellent way to make heart-healthy foods, like low-fat cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, taste great, and if you sprinkle it on your oatmeal or other foods, you’ll be boasting your breakfast’s cholesterol-fighting power.
Trying lifestyle changes can suit you if you have borderline or moderate hypertension. However do consult your doctor, he or she will check your pressure and inform you if these changes can substitute or lower the medication dose for your hypertension.