High blood pressure is very common, with one in three people in the US affected. It can be severe and even life-threatening if untreated, as very high blood pressure can damage your heart, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. Several medications can be useful when it comes to reducing high blood pressure. But, it’s often a combination of lifestyle changes and natural remedies that help prevent high blood pressure in the first place, allowing you to regulate your blood flow and avoid problems.
Get Regular Exercise
Exercise is one of the best things that you can do to lower high blood pressure, and to regulate blood pressure, keeping it healthy. Regularly exercising, especially practicing cardio exercises like running or brisk walking, makes your heart beat faster. This strengthens it, improving your cardiovascular health and lowering the pressure on your arteries.
Stress is a leading cause of high blood pressure and fluctuations in blood pressure. When we are stressed out, our body goes into fight or flight mode to protect itself. One result of this is increased heart rate and blood flow. If you were actually in danger, this could save your life, but if you are just battling stress, it’s unnecessary pressure on your heart and blood vessels. Try to find ways to relax and to reduce your exposure to stressors.
Practice Breathing Exercises
You might think that breathing is an entirely automatic process that you’ve got little control over. But the reality is that we aren’t all very good at it. Poor breathing patterns can lower the oxygen levels in your body. When this happens, your brain sends a signal to send more of the oxygen available in your body to your heart and brain to protect them. This increases blood flow and puts extra pressure on your blood vessels.
Mouth breathing is a common problem. When we breathe through our mouths, we over breathe, inhaling and exhaling too often. This can lead to an imbalance of oxygen and CO₂, which also puts stress on our cardiovascular systems and increases blood pressure.
Fortunately, you can practice certain breathing exercises to help lower blood pressure. These include alternate nostril breathing, 30-second breathing, and diaphragmatic breathing. Practicing breathing exercises can also help to reduce your stress levels.
Drink Less Alcohol and Caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine both raise blood pressure and increase your risk of stroke and heart attack. Limit your intake, and your heart health could improve.
If you are overweight or obese, your heart has to work much harder to get blood around your body. Even simple tasks like walking up the stairs can put excess strain on your body. Studies show that if you are overweight, losing just 5% of your body mass could significantly affect your blood pressure. Team a healthy diet with cardio exercise to boost cardiovascular health further and to maintain a healthier weight.
Make Changes to Your Diet
Changing your diet doesn’t have to just mean cutting calories or reducing sugar and fat. Eating more of the right things will help you to regulate your blood pressure too. Red berries are packed with polyphenols, which can improve heart health. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that help your blood vessels to dilate. Foods high in potassium help your body to process sodium, easing pressure on your blood vessels, and foods high in magnesium, like dairy and vegetables, can help you avoid high blood pressure, which is a common symptom of magnesium deficiency.
Taking steps to create a healthier lifestyle, with changes to your diet, activity levels, and how you manage stress, are often the best ways to manage your blood pressure naturally. But, if you are concerned, you should see your doctor.