Best Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
by Doug Desjardins
High blood pressure afflicts millions of people and is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. If you have high blood pressure---typically classified as systolic pressure over 140 and diastolic pressure over 90---you can control it naturally, without medication, by following these tips.
Lose Weight and Exercise
Blood pressure increases with weight gain, so keeping your weight down is one of the best ways to control it. And the best way to keep your weight down is to exercise and eat a healthy diet. Do some sort of aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day at least three days a week---try walking, jogging or cycling---and you'll be amazed at the results. On average, regular exercise can cut four to nine points off your blood pressure reading and it lowers stress. Also, follow a healthy eating plan that stresses fruits, low-fat dairy products and vegetables and eliminates saturated fats and cholesterol (no fast foods and snacks) and you can shave up to 14 points off your blood pressure readings.
Reduce your Sodium Intake
Salt is public enemy number one for people with high blood pressure and should be avoided. The more salt you cut out of your diet, the lower your blood pressure will be. This means reading food labels and avoiding products that contain lots of salt. Frozen foods, cured meats like bacon and salami and most soups are loaded with sodium and should be crossed off your list. Snacks like potato chips and pretzels are also sodium-heavy. The best foods to eat are fruits, vegetables and unprocessed grains.
Limit Alcohol Consumption and Don't Smoke
Alcohol is not a problem in moderation, but too much can raise blood pressure to unhealthy levels. If you drink, limit your intake to less than two drinks a day to avoid elevated blood pressure. Smoking is even worse, and the nicotine in tobacco can raise your blood pressure by 10 points up to one hour after smoking a cigarette, which means a regular smoker has elevated blood pressure throughout the day. Cutting down on drinking and stopping smoking benefits your blood pressure and aids in your overall health.