High blood pressure is no laughing matter, contributing to over fifteen percent of all premature deaths in the United States alone. This silent killer creates no symptoms, but it increases the likelihood that you will suffer from a stroke, heart attack, aneurysm, kidney failure, or Alzheimer’s disease.
Scarier yet, over a third of the population is estimated to have high blood pressure–including many individuals who don’t even know they have it. In most cases, medication can lower high blood pressure, but it can also cause undesirable side effects and even lead to other medical conditions. Instead, consider one of these ten all-natural blood pressure cures.
Lowering your weight in general will help reduce your blood pressure, but exercising in particular plays an integral role on its own. Exercise helps train the heart to use oxygen in a more efficient manner, and can work to drastically reduce blood pressure. Simply put, through exercise, the heart learns how to pump blood more effectively.
You don’t have to start training for a marathon in order to improve your blood pressure. Incorporate a cardio workout for around thirty minutes on most days of the week. Try to build up gradually, and continue to challenge yourself, as this will push your heart to continue working.
- Lower your sodium intake, but increase potassium
Pay careful attention to your diet to make sure you aren’t eating too much sodium. For low blood pressure, aim to eat less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily. Don’t just focus on added salt—target your intake of processed foods, which tend to add the bulk of excess sodium to your diet.
In addition, try adding more potassium-rich food to your diet. Potassium helps lower blood pressure and can be found in common, delicious foods such as beans, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, and melon.
- Indulge—but in moderation
Another wise dietary choice—in moderation of course—is dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains flavinols and antioxidants that can help improve the elasticity of your blood cells. Consider treating yourself to half an ounce a day, but make sure it’s extra dark—milk chocolate won’t have the same effect.
Berries, too, are another sweet source of nutrients that can help prevent high blood pressure. Most berries contain high amounts of polyphenols, which are compounds that have a restorative and beneficial effect on your heart health.
Deep breathing and other relaxing practices, such as yoga, can help decrease stress. Among the other negative effects stress has on your mind and body, it also produces a key kidney enzyme that is known to elevate blood pressure. Try to meditate for just a few minutes in the morning and at night to reduce your pent-up tension.
- Add a supplement
Dietary supplements can help reduce your blood pressure, especially if you are deficient in a particular nutrient. Many physicians recommend that individuals take a daily dose of coenzyme Q10 as well. This supplement is an antioxidant that the body uses for energy production. It helps to dilate blood vessels and can be taken up to three times a day to lower blood pressure.
- Mind your vices
While drinking a small amount of alcohol may have a positive effect on lowering your blood pressure (we’re talking less than half a drink per day for a woman), most researchers agree that alcohol in excess can raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels. The less you drink, the lower your blood pressure.
If you smoke, quit as soon as possible. Among the other negative side effects produced by this particular habit, even one puff of smoke from a cigarette can raise your blood pressure. Tobacco can also permanently damage your blood pressure.
- Lower your caffeine intake
Caffeine has the same effect on your heart and blood pressure as it does on your mental state—it gets them incredibly worked up. Just three eight-ounce cups of coffee per day can increase blood pressure by four mmHg, as it tightens your blood vessels and increases the effects of stress. If you can’t shake your affection for your morning brew, consider switching to decaf or mixing it half-and-half.
Tea is another good alternative to coffee, with a lower caffeine content as well as the ability to lower blood pressure. Certain teas contain antioxidants which can help reduce blood pressure and improve overall health.
- Stress less
This seems like an obvious tip, but lowering your stress levels is crucial for eliminating your risk of diseases caused by high blood pressure. If at all possible, consider logging fewer hours behind your desk. Working more than forty hours a week increases your risk of high blood pressure by over fifteen percent, and it also distracts you from other healthy behaviors, such as going to the gym, that can lower your blood pressure.
If working less isn’t an option, consider other stress-relief tactics. Listen to calming music or take a soothing bubble bath. Exercise, and get plenty of sleep. Oh, and if you’re having trouble sleeping because you’re snoring? That’s just another sign that your blood pressure may be too high. High blood pressure is closely linked to sleep apnea.
- Explore herbal remedies
Although there are some herbs that can produce undesirable side effects, especially if you’re already taking other medications, most researchers agree that an herbal supplement can be helpful if you’re trying to lower your blood pressure.
Whether ingested whole or taken as a part of a supplement, there are several herbs that are suspected to play roles in improving your overall health and reducing your blood pressure. These include cinnamon, cardamom, basil, flax, ginger, garlic, and even lavender.
- Stay hydrated with Willard’s Water®
Hydration is important not just for overall health, but also if you’re trying specifically to target your blood pressure. Staying hydrated means that your urine is always a clear or pale yellow color. It allows you to maintain the appropriate balance of fluids, nutrients, and electrolytes in your body, and to allow it to work at maximum capacity. If your body is thirsty, it will be more stressed—and we know how detrimental that is for blood pressure!
In most cases, plain water will do the trick. However, if you don’t like water, or if you find that you’re becoming frequently dehydrated, consider adding Dr. Willard’s Water®. This supplement helps accelerate your body’s natural processes, increasing your overall health and allowing you to absorb nutrients from food more easily, including those that are crucial for heart health, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Willard’s Water® is not a substitute for all of the other dietary and lifestyle changes listed above, but it can help tie together all of your hard work to make lowering your blood pressure just a little bit easier.
High blood pressure is a common ailment for many Americans in this day and age, but you don’t have to allow yourself to become another statistics. By taking the proper preventative measures and working to lower your high blood pressure, you’ll be feeling and functioning better in no time.