High blood pressure (BP) is dangerous. It can lead to many health problems, including heart disease, brain stroke, kidney disease, vision loss, sexual dysfunction, and more. Below are a few common ways to reduce BP immediately:
- Staying calm: Too much stress or worries may shoot BP. Being calm can actually reduce BP. Sit down and focus on breathing. Take a few deep breaths and hold them for a few seconds before releasing. Deep slow breathing can help lower your stress levels, thereby bringing down the BP. One of the main reasons why BP shoots up is erratic breathing patterns during times of stress. That’s why deep breathing helps in lowering hypertension and regulating BP. Practicing yoga and meditation along with slow breathing every day may give better results simultaneously. Make stress reduction a priority.
- Dark chocolate: Eating a piece of dark chocolate may help in reducing BP because they help in releasing endorphins (chemicals produced by the body to relieve stress and pain). Dark chocolate is also rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, which have been shown in some studies to reduce BP. It is however recommended to stick to smaller amounts of dark chocolates and choose a dark chocolate that has at least 70% cocoa content.
- Hibiscus or chamomile tea: A cup of hibiscus or chamomile tea may also help in relieving stress and reducing BP. However, it should not be taken with black tea or coffee.
- Berries: Berries have many health benefits, and one of them is improving BP and reducing other heart disease risks. Berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, have lots of polyphenols, which are great for the heart. They’re also really tasty. We may also add them to a smoothie made with low-fat or fat-free yogurt without added sugar.
- Lie down: It’s harder for the heart to pump blood when you are standing up straight. It has to work against gravity to send blood upwards all over your body. When a person lies down, the heart and head are at the same level, so it doesn’t have to pump very hard. This will help reduce the load on the heart and lower the BP.
- Sleep: Not getting enough sleep or rest can cause BP to increase. An individual may require at least six hours of sleep every night. Sleep helps in regulating stress hormones, bringing down the BP naturally.
What type of food is recommended to control blood pressure?
As per the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, a person has high blood pressure (BP) if their BP is more than 130/80, which means that nearly half of all adults may need to lower their BP.
Below are a few common diet and food that help in relieving BP:
- Moderate sodium reduction: There is a decrease in BP in hypertensive individuals with a reduction in salt intake and keeping it to below 1500 mg.
- Olive oil: Olive oil may be one of the most important ingredients of a healthy diet. It is packed with antioxidants and polyphenols that have various health benefits, including the reduction of BP. Cooking veggies with olive oil also allows bodies to absorb fat-soluble vitamins K, A, D, and E. It is always recommended to opt for a quality extra-virgin olive oil for maximum health benefits.
- Flaxseeds: Several studies have shown that flaxseeds are a powerful superfood when it comes to reducing hypertension. They contain α-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid, that has been found to reduce BP. They can also be sprinkled on salads, smoothies, or baked goods.
- High-potassium and magnesium-rich foods: Unless contraindicated in persons with poor kidney function, a potassium-rich diet lowers BP. Potassium-rich foods include spinach, orange, papaya, grapes, and banana. Potassium helps the kidneys flush sodium out of our systems, which in turn can cause our BP to decrease. Some other high-potassium foods to try are melons, apricots, leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tuna, salmon, beans, nuts, seed, Swiss chard, and white beans. Smoothies with banana, spinach, and avocado can also be considered a snack or breakfast. Magnesium may also help in relaxing the blood vessels, making it easier for the blood to pass through. Foods rich in magnesium include vegetables, dairy, chicken, legumes, and whole grains.
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High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms.
Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure.
The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater.
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.
REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
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