Blood pressure is the force your blood exerts against the walls of your arteries as it travels through your body. When your blood puts too much pressure on your arteries, you have high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension.
Having high blood pressure can raise your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.
High blood pressure is a common medical condition, affecting nearly half of adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tragically, high blood pressure contributes to more than 670,000 deaths in the nation each year.
Those are intimidating numbers. Depending on how high your blood pressure is, your health care provider may recommend natural strategies alone to lower your blood pressure, or include medications as well.
Here, the care providers at Encino Park Family Health & Wellness Clinic in San Antonio, Texas, share six lifestyle tips to help you lower your blood pressure naturally.
1. Eat less salt (sodium)
Most people in the United States eat far too much salt. The sodium in salt is a major contributor to high blood pressure because it causes your body to hold on to water, and excess fluid in the blood increases pressure on your arteries. Cutting back on salt can help, sometimes within weeks.
The American Heart Association recommends capping your sodium intake at 1,500 mg per day if you have high blood pressure. Check package labels for sodium content in the foods you eat. And note that most foods in their natural state are relatively low in sodium compared with processed foods.
2. Lose weight
As your weight goes up, your blood pressure may also increase. Losing weight can help bring blood pressure down. If you need help losing weight, talk with your care provider.
3. Quit smoking
The chemicals in tobacco smoke can make artery walls stiffer, which contributes to high blood pressure. If you need help quitting, ask your provider. For more resources and inspiration, check out smokefree.gov.
4. Exercise daily
Daily activity is one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure. Not only does it help bring blood pressure down, but it aids weight control and stress management, targeting two other blood pressure raisers. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week.
5. Manage chronic stress
It’s true: Chronic stress really can increase your blood pressure. To help reduce the impact of stress on your blood pressure and your overall health, use stress management techniques such as exercise and social support.
Also, try relaxation strategies such as deep breathing, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
6. Eat foods with magnesium, calcium, and potassium
These three nutrients help reduce blood pressure by contributing to the health of your arteries. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan includes plenty of these three nutrients, as well as many other healthy foods.
Take control of your blood pressure
If you have high blood pressure, our providers at Encino Park Family Health & Wellness Clinic can work with you to create a management plan that works for you. To schedule an office visit, call 210-568-5816 or request an appointment on our website.