Reducing Blood Pressure

Hello my Zebras and Spoonies! Thanks for coming and hanging out with me today, I’m glad that you are here. Today I am going to be talking about some of the ways that you can tackle that high blood pressure.

A blood pressure level of 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered high. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg, then you have prehypertension. This means that you don’t have high blood pressure now but are likely to develop it in the future unless you adopt a healthy lifestyle. It is important to note that the standard for high blood pressure has changed. The numbers are lower then they used to be. This is a reflection of the research that’s being done.

Like most medical conditions, prevention is better then reaction. Having a high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart diseases and stroke. Also like most medical conditions, there are options to lowering your blood pressure that doesn’t require you to take medications.

  1. Lower you stress levels.
    1. While we generally can’t prevent the stressful things that come at us in life, we can do things to manage the stress in healthy ways. But if you can, avoid stressful situations.
    2. Try practicing yoga or meditation. These have been shown to greatly reduce the effects of stress.
    3. Get plenty of sleep. Having a sleep debt reduces our tolerance for stress.
    4. Exercise. This helps the cardiovascular system get strong and gives it a better ability to self regulate. Things like walking or stair stepping are great choices.
    5. Deep breathing can also be a huge help.
      1. It’s simple and only takes a few minutes.
      2. You can do it while you’re driving or waiting in line.
      3. Breath slowly in while counting to 5. Then breath out while counting to 10.
      4. Do this for 5 minutes if you can. But even a few deep breaths has benefits.
  2. Loose weight.
    1. The more there is of you, the harder your heart has to push in order to get the blood out to all the tissues.
    2. Loosing weight is a huge challenge, but keep in mind that every pound lost is a victory and has benefits to your health. Even if you haven’t reached your ideal body weight, loosing some weight will help your health.
  3. Decrease your sodium intake while increasing your potassium intake.
    1. Sodium draws water into the blood stream which creates a higher volume and increases your blood pressure.
    2. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure.
    3. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements.
      1. sweet potatoes, tomatoes, orange juice, potatoes, bananas, kidney beans, peas, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and dried fruits such as prunes and raisins.
  4. Avoid alcohol.
  5. Quit smoking.
  6. Avoid caffeine.
  7. Monitor your blood pressure daily to see where you’re at.
    1. It can be helpful for you to check it multiple times a day for more insight, but checking at least once a day every day will give you a lot of information about how you are doing.
    2. This will help you see trends. If you’re higher in the morning, take a look at the things you do in the morning. Do you usually have to rush out the door to get to work or school on time? This could be increasing your blood pressure because of the stress you’re experiencing.
  8. Eat a serving of dark chocolate every day.
  9. Hibiscus tea. Drink one serving every day.
  10. Working more then 40 hours a week has been shown to increase your risk for high blood pressure. This is probably related to both fatigue and stress levels.
  11. Music. Pick something you love and let yourself get into it. This has many benefits beyond lowering your blood pressure.
  12. Eat garlic. Eating one clove a day can be a huge help.
  13. Avoid prepared meals. These tend to be high in salt and sugars while lower in the things you are looking for like potassium and fiber.
  14. Reduce your carbohydrate intake.
  15. Avoid fructose.
  16. Reduce your fat intake.
  17. Avoid red meat.
  18. If you’re diabetic, keep your blood sugars between 70 and 120.
  19. Use only half the butter or margarine you do now.
  20. Get added nutrients such as the B vitamins by choosing whole grain foods, including whole wheat bread or whole grain cereals.
  21. Make food choices when you are shopping so that the foods you don’t want to eat are not available in your home, making it much less likely that you’ll eat them.
  22. Make and bring your snacks with you. This can help prevent impulsive eating which can to lead to making poor food choices.
  23. Increase your fiber intake.

The best part about all of these is that they are not all or nothing options. Eating one less serving of red meat will have a benefit. You don’t need to do all of these things to achieve a good blood pressure. Try one thing at a time and then add others if your blood pressure is still high. The last thing to keep in mind is that any amount of reduction in your blood pressure will reduce your risk. So, if your at 160/90 on a regular basis and can bring it down to 150/80, consider that a victory and keep up the hard work!

Well, that’s about it for my rambling today. Thanks for coming and spending some time with me. If you like what you read, click on that like button. It really does help! Until we talk again, you take care of yourselves!

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