High blood pressure or hypertension is a serious health issue that we must address properly. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension affects about one billion people around the world and it causes approximately nine million deaths each year. Additionally, it is the main risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, such as a heart attack and stroke.
It is best to measure your blood pressure every now and then to know if your blood pressure is in a normal range. The American Heart Association (AHA) made new changes concerning blood pressure ranges and they established that a person has normal pressure if it measures less than 120 mmHg (systolic blood pressure) and less than 80 mmHg (diastolic blood pressure. Now, a person is pre-hypertensive if his or her blood pressure is between 120 to 129 mmHg (SBP) and 80 to 89 mmHg (DBP). Thus, any blood pressure higher from these levels is referred to as high blood pressure.
It is important to understand that controlling your blood pressure is in your hands and there are many approaches you can do to stabilize those levels. Thus, follow these ways to reduce your blood pressure naturally.
Reduce your Body Weight
It is common that blood pressure rises when you gain weight. Research has revealed that our fat cells produce a hormone called leptin, which functions to suppress appetite. The levels of this hormone increase as you gain more weight, but it is not able to reduce your appetite because your body resists it. The resistance is caused by the leptin’s inability to reach the brain and trigger loss of appetite, as research suggests. But leptin also causes our body to release a hormone called norepinephrine NE). This hormone produces involuntary changes in our nervous system, such as increasing our heart rate, thus increasing your blood pressure. Additionally, being overweight causes a change in our breathing pattern when we sleep (sleep apnea), which also increases our blood pressure.
On that account, losing weight is one of the most efficient changes in your lifestyle that will lower your blood pressure. Whether you are obese, overweight, or gained some undesired pounds, losing a small amount of weight will reduce your blood pressure. Generally, you are able to reduce one millimeter of mercury (mmHg) off your blood pressure for every pound of weight (approximately 2.2 pounds) you lose.
A study done in 2019 evaluated the effect of weight loss and weight gain on blood pressure in adolescents with obesity. About 5200 subjects entered a weight loss program and their blood pressure was measured for
32 months. The final outcome revealed that both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, indeed, decrease as they lost body mass.
Apart from losing weight, you will be able to control your waist diameter and this is another factor that influences having high blood pressure. Normally, men and women have a higher risk of high blood pressure if their waist measures more than 102 centimeters and 89 centimeters, respectively.
The AHA recommends moderate physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes daily, five times a week. Exercising is such a beneficial habit for your overall health, such as reducing physical, improves your mood, and other properties, such as reducing your blood pressure. When you exercise, your cardiovascular performance enhances over time. In other words, your heart becomes stronger and is able to pump blood throughout your body with less power. When your heart pumps with less effort, the force through which your blood flows through your arteries diminishes and this effect causes a reduction in your blood pressure.
By doing regular exercise, you are able to lower your blood pressure approximately 5 to 8 mmHg if you have blood pressure. Therefore, whether you are pre-hypertensive or are already diagnosed with high blood pressure, regular physical activity will help you reverse these levels and stabilize them.
There are many exercises you can employ to lower your blood pressure, such as walking, running, swimming, dancing, or riding a bike. Strength training can also help you reduce your blood pressure. You must lift weights at least twice a week to aid you in lowering your blood pressure.
Limit Your Salt Consumption
Eating too much salt is another known risk factor that contributes to high blood pressure. Nutritionists recommend and limit sodium intake to less than 2300 milligrams, which is practically a teaspoon of salt. Even more, the elderly must try to consume less than 1500 milligrams of sodium per day. The sodium in the salt is the cause of increased blood pressure. When you consume too much salt, there is an excessive amount of sodium flowing in your bloodstream. This causes an imbalance and our body begins to withhold water ( also known as water retention). When there is a higher flow of blood in our body, there is more force applied to our arteries, increasing our blood pressure. Our kidneys try to reduce water retention by making us urinate. However, over time, they are unable to fully remove the excess water and our blood pressure skyrockets.
An investigation in 2014 by the Yonsei University studied if our actual salt consumption is too high and might lead to hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Reports showed that reducing our salt intake from 1 to 2 grams per day significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including hypertension by 20%. Therefore, there is scientific evidence to incorporate a salt reduction habit for CVD prevention.
If you reduce your salt consumption, you are able to reduce about 5 to 6 mmHg in your blood pressure (if you suffer from hypertension). You can also follow certain habits to reduce your sodium intake, such as eating less processed and packaged foods since they have a high-sodium content. Also, you use other spices and herbs to incorporate more flavor to your food instead of adding salt. Finally, be keen on what food products you buy and try to select healthier options that are low in sodium.
A healthy diet is based on high content in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and adequate protein intake. This type of food regimen will not only reduce cholesterol levels but also lower your blood pressure to a maximum of 11 mmHg if you have high blood pressure.
It may be hard to change your dietary habits, but there are certain steps you can take to acknowledge how you eat. You may write a food journal where you list all the food you have eaten, even if it is just for a week. This will help you view what food you consume and how healthy they are. Additionally, you can add certain food items that aid in reducing blood pressure, such as bananas, tomatoes, dark chocolate, nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews), watermelon, and raspberries. You can also limit certain drinks, such as coffee. Caffeine increases your heart rate, therefore your blood pressure.
For these reasons, there are easy steps you can take into your daily activities to reduce your blood pressure without the use of medication, such as exercising, losing weight, and eating less salt. Just give yourself the opportunity to take control of your health!
- https://www.mayoclinic.org/es-es/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood- pressure/art-20046974