When was the last time you measured your blood pressure? Do you know your numbers? According to the World Health Organization, high blood pressure affects 1.13 billion people worldwide. In November of 2018, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association released new national blood pressure guidelines. The definition for high blood pressure became 130/80 from 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). This means that if you suffer from high blood pressure, it is very important for you to take urgent steps to lower it. Experts agree that consistent readings of high blood pressure puts you at risk for stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, etc. This is why it is very crucial to make sure your blood pressure is always normal. So what can you do to naturally lower your blood pressure?
#1 Increase Daily Consumption of Fiber
Scientists are not quite sure how the body uses fiber to lower blood pressure, but studies continue to show that an increase in the daily consumption of fiber helps to lower overall blood pressure. Great sources of fiber would be fruits and vegetables, beans, oats, nuts, and seeds. The fiber softens and increases the size of stools, decreasing constipation and thus lowering blood pressure.
#2 Improve Quantity of Sleep
How well do you sleep daily? There is a common belief among experts that less than five hours of sleep at night, may contribute to high blood pressure readings. This may be due to the fact that the body produces less growth hormones which repair cells and boosts metabolism. Even if you fall asleep for more than six hours, the quality of your sleep can also affect your blood pressure. When you wake up feeling more tired than when you went to bed, it may be signs of increased stress thus contributing to higher blood pressure readings.
#3 Decrease Consumption of ‘Bad’ Carbohydrates
When you consume foods like bread, pasta, donuts, or cakes, the body breaks them down into simple sugars to produce energy. Increased sugar in your bloodstream causes the release of insulin- a fat storing hormone. The job of insulin is to get the sugars into the cells where they are needed. Eating more carbs may continue to increase insulin levels in the blood. This increase means that more fluid and sodium is retained causing increased pressure in the arteries. This translates to high blood pressure readings. The solution is to lower your carbohydrates intake as much as possible.
#4 Eat BEETS!
Most people love and long for the taste of beets. Yummy! Not at all. Most people actually detest beets. The irony is that beets are packed with so many antioxidants. They don’t look the part for sure. The presence in beets of nitrates which change to nitric oxide, relaxes blood vessels and therefore reduces blood pressure. What kinds of foods help increase nitric oxide? Beets are high in nitrates. Add them to your morning smoothies, to your salads or just boil and eat. Your blood pressure will thank you.
This is as natural as you can get. Fortunately for us all, you don’t have to run a marathon to accomplish this. Now what is the connection between exercise and blood pressure? Exercise strengthens your muscles. The heart is a muscle also. The stronger it gets, the easier it pumps, the better your blood pressure reads.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. That is about 30 minutes four times a week. Aerobic exercise includes walking, jogging, gardening, dancing, raking leaves, house renovating, etc. It is also a good idea to slowly incorporate weights into your workout routine.
As seen above, monitoring your blood pressure with your doctor is a very important step to commit to in this journey of lifestyle change. It is recommended to make one adjustment at a time. Be patient. If you do the right thing, progress is a must.
Hope you all enjoyed this article! Please be sure to comment down below any questions or concerns you may have or any topics you might want me to discuss in the near future. Always check out my blog for a brand new article EVERY Monday to learn about new nutrition facts on healthy living and wellness.
WLS, FNS (NASM)