5 Ways to Reduce High Blood Pressure

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One in three people in the US and 1 billion people worldwide are affected by high blood pressure, a dangerous condition that can damage your heart. High blood pressure often has no symptoms and is also a major risk of heart disease and stroke.

Here are five ways to reduce your blood pressure:

1. Increase Fitness and Exercise More

A meta-analysis of 65 studies found that aerobic and resistance exercise can significantly lower blood pressure. Men especially benefit from the practice, in which systolic blood pressure decreases by an average of 3.9% and diastolic blood pressure decrease by 4.5%. These results are as good as some blood pressure medications. The strength of your heart and the effort it requires to pump over time increases as you increase your heart and breathing rates. This, in turn, decreases your blood pressure.

5 Ways to Reduce High Blood Pressure

How Long Should You Be Active?

According to a report released by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association in 2019, individuals should engage in moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity for 40 minutes three to four times per week. However, if finding 40 minutes at a time is a struggle, there may still be value in dividing the time into three or four 10- to 15-minute chunks throughout the day.

Apart from running marathons, other activities you can engage in can be as simple as:

  • Using the stairs
  • Playing a team sport
  • Walking instead of driving
  • Doing household chores
  • Bike riding

2. Reduce Sugar and Refined Carbohydrate Intake

Research reveals that a sugar and refined carbohydrate diet reduces weight and elevates blood pressure. Researchers found that people who dieted down to low carb or low fat lost up to 3 millimeters of systolic and 5 millimeters of diastolic blood pressure in 2018. You feel fuller on a low-carb, low-sugar diet because you are eating more protein and fat. Taking a supplement for high blood pressure can also help improve your overall health. Incorporate these supplements into your diet instead of eating foods that are high in sugar and carbs.

3. Reduce the Amount of Processed Food You Eat

Your saltshaker at home is not responsible for most of the extra salt in your diet. The majority of extra salt comes from restaurant foods and processed food. Here are some common high-salt choices:

  • Canned soup
  • Pizza
  • Deli meats
  • Processed snacks
  • Chips

To compensate for the loss of fat, processed foods often contain high amounts of salt and sugar. It makes you feel full and prevents you from consuming more calories. Unprocessed foods have no sodium and, therefore, no sodium content. They are also free of sugar and refined carbs. You will consume fewer calories and be less susceptible to health problems if you consume less processed food.

Check the nutrition label of every food before you eat it. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a 5% or less sodium listing on the label is considered low, whereas 20% or more is considered high.

4. Eat Dark Chocolate

Yes, consuming dark chocolate may help lower your blood pressure. However, you must consume dark chocolate that is at least 60 percent cacao. A review of studies on dark chocolate has shown that consuming one to two squares of dark chocolate per day may help lower the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and inflammation. Flavonoids present in chocolate with more cocoa solids are thought to contribute to the benefits.

5. Eat High-Protein, Healthy Foods

In 2014, a long-term study found that consuming more protein lowered one’s risk of high blood pressure. People who ate 100 grams of protein daily had a 40% lower chance of having high blood pressure than those who consumed low amounts of protein. Fiber intake was also associated with a 60% lower chance of high blood pressure. However, this may not be suitable for everyone. The high protein diet might not be suitable for those with kidney problems. Consult your doctor about this.

That said, it is relatively simple to get 100 grams of protein daily on most kinds of diets.

Examples of high-protein foods are:

  • Salmon
  • Canned tuna in water
  • Eggs
  • Chicken breast
  • Beef
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Peanut butter
  • Chickpeas
  • Cheddar cheese

A serving of salmon can contain as much as 22 grams of protein, whereas a serving of chicken breast may contain 30 grams of protein. In regard to vegetarian diets, half a cup of most types of beans delivers seven to 10 grams of protein. Two tablespoon servings would provide eight grams of Peanut butter.

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