How can I lower my blood pressure?
Have you been told that you have high blood pressure? Are you trying to find ways to lower your blood pressure? Being told that you need to lower your blood pressure can be alarming. Figuring out where to start making changes can feel even scarier. Here are a few changes that you can make that can help lower your blood pressure:
- Eat a healthy diet
- The best way to reduce blood pressure naturally is through a healthy diet. A diet proven to reduce blood pressure is the DASH diet. This diet has lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. It is also lower in saturated and total fat. This heart-healthy diet can lower your blood pressure by up to 11 mmHg! It can also help reduce your LDL (bad cholesterol). If you are interested in learning more about this diet, check out this article from the MayoClinic:
- Keep a healthy weight
- Our hearts have to work harder when we carry around extra weight. When our hearts are working harder, our blood pressure rises. If you are overweight, it is estimated that for every 2 lbs you lose, your blood pressure lowers by 1 mmHg. That means if you lose 10 lbs, you’ve lowered your blood pressure by 5 mmHg!
- Lower sodium/salt intake
- Reducing your daily sodium intake is another great way to lower blood pressure. It can be really difficult for most people to avoid salt. Sodium “hides” in processed foods like cured meats, frozen dinners, and canned foods. A heart-healthy daily intake of salt should be less than 2300 mg/day. You can lower your blood pressure even more by lowering sodium to 1500 mg/day. If you are unsure of how much sodium a food contains, be sure to check the nutrition label!
- Getting your body moving can help strengthen your heart. When your heart is stronger, it doesn’t have to work as hard. When it doesn’t have to work as hard, your blood pressure will lower. Routine exercise is the best way to strengthen your heart muscle. Consistency is key here! Experts recommend at least 30 minutes per day, at least 5 days per week.
- Lower alcohol intake
- Alcohol can feel like a way to de-stress after a long day. But frequent drinking can actually raise your blood pressure. Limit alcohol to 2 drinks per day if you are male, or 1 drink per day if you are female.
These are just some ways you can lower your blood pressure. These recommendations above should not be used instead of the medication. These healthy lifestyle choices should be used with medication for the best results. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about your blood pressure!