What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high.  Simply drinking more water without making other diet changes won't lower blood pressure.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high. Simply drinking more water without making other diet changes won't lower blood pressure.

If you have high blood pressure, it’s essential you take the proper steps to manage the condition. Diet, exercise, and any medications prescribed by your doctor will help you get your blood pressure down to a healthy level. 

In addition, you should think about what beverages you drink. Cutting back on some drinks, like alcohol, will improve your health overall. Adding more water can also help regulate your blood pressure. 

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high. Your heart and vessels have to work harder to mode the blood when it’s pressing against the walls of veins and arteries. Over time, this causes damage to the vessels, tearing the tissue.

You may also start to develop cholesterol deposits along your blood vessels. This narrows the passage of the vessels and increases blood pressure even further. The cycle of high blood pressure and the damage it causes will continue and get worse unless you treat the condition.

How does diet affect high blood pressure?

Experts agree that changing your diet can lower your blood pressure. One of the first changes your doctor will recommend is reducing the amount of sodium you eat. Salty foods cause you to retain fluids, which can lead to an increase in blood pressure.

You should also focus on eating unprocessed foods that are rich in nutrients and fiber. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains should make up the core of your diet. Processed foods and refined grains and sugars are less helpful when trying to lower your blood pressure.

What you drink matters for cardiovascular health as much as what you eat. Alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and sugary sodas are shown to increase the risk of high blood pressure. Cutting back on these types of drinks will help you get your blood pressure down to your ideal levels.

Water for lower blood pressure

Water is not a miracle cure for hypertension. Simply drinking more water without making other diet changes won‘t solve your health problems. Water should instead be part of your bigger plan for healthy eating.

Most experts recommend drinking 4-6 cups of water per day. You can get most of the required amount from drinking it. Eating fruits and vegetables, which are naturally high in fluids, will also help you get the water you need each day.

Drinking water has many benefits, including:

  • Carrying nutrients and oxygen to the rest of your body
  • Protecting joint function
  • Protecting organs and other soft tissues
  • Regulating your body temperature

Water directly benefits blood pressure by helping you maintain the correct electrolyte balance. You need both sodium and potassium in your body for optimal heart function. If you have too much of either one, your blood pressure can fluctuate, and your risk of heart attack or stroke increases. Staying hydrated helps keep up the balance of those two important nutrients. 

Other steps to reduce blood pressure

In addition to changes to diet, you can reduce your blood pressure by making lifestyle changes. Simple changes can have a big impact on your health.

Exercise

Movement is one of the best ways to boost your cardiovascular health. Most experts suggest 30 minutes of exercise per day, five days per week. You don’t need to adopt a hardcore workout routine to see benefits. Taking walks or going for bike rides is a great way to add more movement to your day.

Weight loss

Losing weight is one of the most effective ways to improve your blood pressure. Any weight loss is helpful, so you don’t need to feel discouraged if you don’t make dramatic progress. Getting your weight down by even 10 pounds can make a big difference.

Stress reduction

The hormones you release in response to stress and anxiety increase your heart rate and constrict your blood vessels. This causes blood pressure to spike in the short term. In the long term, stress makes you prone to poor health habits like overeating or not getting enough sleep. Relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing can help you control stress. 

Other considerations

You may need medication to bring your blood pressure down. Your doctor will suggest a prescription that can help you get your blood pressure under control. Over time, you may be able to stop the medication. You can continue making lifestyle changes while relying on medicine for improvements. Your diet, hydration, and exercise routines might be enough to manage your hypertension over the long term.

SLIDESHOW

How to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips See Slideshow

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Medically Reviewed on 11/23/2021
References
SOURCES:

American Heart Association: "What is High Blood Pressure?"

Harvard Health Publishing: "6 simple things that can help lower your blood pressure," "How much water should you drink?"

National Health Service: "High blood pressure (hypertension)."