Did you know nearly half of all adults in the United States have hypertension? In 2017 alone, hypertension was listed as a primary or contributing cause for just under half a million U.S. deaths. These shocking statistics show how prevalent high blood pressure is, and how important it is to get it under control.
If your blood pressure is higher than you or your doctor would like it to be, it’s time to take action now to lower it. Fortunately, lowering your blood pressure may be simpler than you ever imagined. Here are some easy things you can do to start lowering your blood pressure today.
Lose the Extra Weight
For many people, losing weight is a challenge. But often, that’s because they simply don’t know how to take a reasonable approach to weight loss. Remember, losing the extra pounds is a marathon, not a sprint. With patience and a consistent, reasonable approach, you can finally drop the weight and lower your blood pressure in the process.
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Certain foods are known to contribute to high blood pressure, including highly processed foods and heavily salted dishes. It’s important to avoid these and opt for healthier foods that can lower blood pressure. Here are a few healthy suggestions to incorporate into your daily diet:
- Fresh or frozen vegetables with no added salt
- Fresh or frozen fruits
- Lean meat
- Greek yogurt, skim milk and other calcium-rich foods
- Cooked hot cereal (not the instant varieties)
- Unsalted raw mineral-rich foods such as nuts and seeds
It’s also important to avoid alcohol and caffeine if you are trying to lower your blood pressure.
Exercise Every Day
Exercising regularly helps strengthen your heart so it can pump blood more efficiently. When your blood pumps efficiently, your blood pressure lowers. It can be hard to fit exercise into your daily routine, but the health benefits are worth the effort. Even if you can only squeeze in a couple of 10-minute walks each day, start there. Consistency is more important than duration.
You should also know that exercise doesn’t always have to look like exercise. There are plenty of everyday activities that provide beneficial aerobic effects. Here are a few suggestions:
- Sweeping and mopping the floor
- Mowing the lawn
- Raking leaves
- Climbing stairs
- Scrubbing countertops and toilets
All of these activities can become effective forms of exercise if you do them vigorously.
It’s a well-known fact that smoking can narrow your arteries and raise blood pressure. Smoking is also the main cause of lung cancer and can reduce life expectancy significantly. If you currently smoke, take immediate steps to quit. Make this your number one priority for the sake of your blood pressure and your health.
Stress is often referred to as “the silent killer.” Although some degree of stress is normal and relatively harmless, chronic stress can keep your body in a constant state of fight-or-flight. This is very unhealthy and can put a lot of pressure on your various systems. Constant stress revs up the body’s metabolism and leads to high blood pressure and other health problems. If you feel the effects of chronic stress in your life, take the following steps to reduce it right away:
- Get more sleep
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine
- Learn how to say “no”
- Minimize your workload
- Spend more time outdoors
- Take time to laugh
- Spend more time with family
- Engage in enjoyable hobbies
Don’t forget to exercise regularly. Exercising can help release pent-up energy and tension so your body has an easier time relaxing.
All of these steps can go a long way toward helping you lower your blood pressure. They’ll also improve your overall quality of life and possibly help you live longer.