5 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure Without Medication

Some people have a genetic predisposition that will at some point impact their blood pressure readings. Others have problems due to diet, weight or other medical factors. The good news is there are some things you can do to lower your blood pressure without necessarily relying on medications.

Potassium-Rich Foods

Add foods rich in potassium to your regular diet. Potassium helps to regulate your blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of salt. Some great sources include white potatoes, sweet potatoes, apricots, honeydew melons and many more. Nutritionists recommend between 2,000 and 4,000 mg of potassium per day, but check with your doctor if you aren’t sure what you really need.

Lose Weight

Many people will see a direct relationship between an increase in weight and an increase in blood pressure, especially if you carry a lot of extra weight around your midsection. Losing as little as 10 pounds can make a big difference. Losing weight will also help you prevent the development of sleep apnea, something that can also get worse with weight gain and subsequently cause even higher blood pressure.

Regular Exercise

“Regular” is the key word. Being more active can decrease your systolic blood pressure (the top number) by 4-9 millimeters of mercury and that is as good as some medications do. For certain people simply exercising more replaces the need for blood pressure medication. Exercising for 20-30 minutes a day, about 3-4 days per week, can have an immediate impact on your blood pressure. Cardiovascular and strength training exercises work because they strengthen your heart muscles, forcing your body to more efficiently pump the blood out of your arteries. If you don’t continue with a regular plan, though, your blood pressure numbers will go right back up. So even if you find that you can only exercise 2-3 times per week, do it because keeping the habit of regular exercise is very important to all aspects of your health, not just your blood pressure.

Ditch the Salt Shaker

Lowering sodium (aka salt) in your diet is critical if you struggle with high blood pressure. Most doctors and nutritionists will put this near the top of your to-do list. This doesn’t only mean not to add salt to your food; for millions of people the majority of their sodium intake is via processed foods and foods they order when eating out.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily sodium intake to no more than 2,300 mg per day, but they state that the ideal target should be 1,500 mg per day. Consider this, the average American adult consumes 3,400 mg of sodium each day! Read your food labels, make fresh when you can, and don’t add salt to your food. It only takes 1 teaspoon of salt to reach your 2,300 mg max for a day.

Reduce Alcohol Intake

According to the National Institute for Health, alcohol consumption contributes to at least 16% of high blood pressure incidents around the world. Yes, there are some studies about small amounts of alcohol and a healthier heart, but the negatives can outweigh the positives if you drink too much. Someone who has more than 3 drinks in one sitting can temporarily increase their blood pressure and repeated social drinking can lead to long-term increases.

While it’s great to do what you can to avoid taking medications, make sure you talk to your doctor before you stop taking any current medications. Approach lowering your blood pressure cautiously, and with a plan, so you can monitor your changes and make the appropriate adjustments. And if you implement all these suggestions and find that you still need medication to keep your blood pressure in check, continue doing these things anyway because they are very beneficial to your health and your body.

6/12/2018 7:00:00 AM
Wellness Editor
Written by Wellness Editor
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