How to lower blood pressure naturally?
High blood pressure is an enemy of our health. High blood pressure should never be underestimated because it is a clear indicator of risk factors for serious diseases such as stroke and heart attack.
You already know the reference values:
– maximum blood pressure (systolic) should be below 120 and diastolic below 80.
For more precise parameters, refer to the classification of arterial hypertension according to the 2018 ESC/ESH guidelines.
|Category||Systolic blood pressure (mmHg)||Diastolic blood pressure (mm/Hg)|
|Normal – High||130-139||85-89|
|Grade 1 hypertension||140-159||90-99|
|Grade 2 hypertension||160-179||100-109|
|Grade 3 hypertension||≥180||≥110|
|Isolated systolic hypertension||≥140||≤ 90|
Foods that help lower blood pressure
As with other diseases and conditions, nutrition can play a role in blood pressure . You are certainly aware of the fact that salt is an enemy of high blood pressure. Anyone who has had episodes of hypertension will have heard advice from their doctor to reduce the amount of salt in the kitchen.
A balanced consumption of food oriented towards vegetables, fruit, whole carbohydrates and unsaturated fats can help normalize blood pressure. Cholesterol and high blood pressure often go hand in hand, so you shouldn’t be surprised that cholesterol-lowering foods help regulate blood pressure. Take note of this in the meantime:
- Eliminate junk foods, especially packaged foods. They are rich in salt, used to flavor them and keep them for a long time. Therefore, prefer fresh snacks, such as fruit, or wholemeal bread.
- The unsaturated fatty acids contained in fish, nuts and legumes, especially beans.
- Extra virgin olive oil, which in Italy we use as the main condiment, has beneficial effects on blood pressure (two tablespoons a day) thanks to the action of the phenols present in it.
- Bananas are rich in potassium which counteracts the action of sodium.
- Eat more fruit and avoid drinking industrial juices found in supermarket counters. Consume more vegetables ( source ).
- Switch from white flours to whole grain carbohydrates thanks to fiber content ( source ).
- Do not abuse salt. A good alternative is low sodium salt . The point is that salt is used for apparently healthy cooking, such as pasta or rice, and in salads. You can gradually decrease the quantity, limiting it to all those dishes that you can flavor with spices, herbs or lemon juice. Keep in mind that iodized salt is recommended to address iodine deficiency in the diet.
- Don’t eat too much, reduce portions. Avoid the use of processed foods such as sausages which are notoriously high in salt, and regulate the consumption of dairy products. Eat less red meat.
Moderate and continuous physical activity helps to lower blood pressure. Half an hour of exercise a day can be enough to lower blood pressure, day after day. This principle of continued physical activity is essential: if you stop and suffer from high blood pressure, you won’t get the same benefits.
You can do activities like brisk walking , running, swimming, tennis, dancing. Combine aerobic training with some weight training sessions in the gym. Always followed by the doctor or a personal trainer.
Fight the stress
Stress can lead to hypertension due to the overproduction of vasoconstrictor hormones such as cortisol. Elevations in cortisol levels are associated with stress, due to particular personal, health and environmental problems.
High cortisol is also linked to an excess of physical effort, to a diet that is too unbalanced towards carbohydrates or to particular situations such as pregnancy.
Limit alcohol and coffee if needed
I have already written about the harm of alcohol on the body . I like to remind you that there is no such thing as healthy eating. Red wine contains substances that can be good for you, but you should limit yourself to half a glass per meal.
Caffeine raises blood pressure . It’s up to you to evaluate the consequences over time, measuring it half an hour after drinking a cup without sugar. This is because the studies are not conclusive. If it raises your blood pressure too much you should moderate its consumption.
Smoking increases heart rate and blood pressure resulting from the association with nicotine. Studies have revealed that smoking counteracts the action of beta-blocker drugs used to treat high blood pressure ( Source ).
Take your blood pressure regularly at home
You can keep your blood pressure under control by measuring it and marking the values day after day. There are tools on the market such as the sphygmomanometer, manual or digital, with which to make do-it-yourself measurements.
Read Also Cholesterol
Shop smart and keep healthy habits
Shop smart , in relation to the salt, sugar and saturated fat content. Prefer fresh foods, simple preparations, always include a portion of fiber per meal and season dishes better. You will find that you will spend less by eating better. Stay hydrated enough to counteract the effects of sodium by drinking at least 1.5 liters of water a day, plus more water from vegetables.
Record what you buy and what you eat and cyclically measure your blood pressure. Don’t forget to have regular blood tests.
If you are overweight, if in essence you have belly fat (deposits of visceral or subcutaneous fat ), you are at risk for hypertension. Organize your life better and boost your health: moderate physical activity, proper nutrition and a balanced lifestyle go hand in hand and blood pressure is a sign that should not be underestimated, which says a lot about your state of health.
One immediate suggestion I can give you is to make changes day by day, looking after your health overall.