Control your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure plays a role in more than 15% of deaths in the United States. Although it causes no symptoms, high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks and strokes, as well as aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure.  28% of Americans have high blood pressure and don’t know it.  If you haven’t had your blood pressure checked within 2 years, contact your doctor.

Medication can lower blood pressure, but it can cause side effects such as leg cramps, dizziness, and insomnia. Most people can bring down their blood pressure without medication.  Below are some ways to lower your blood pressure naturally:

  • Go on a power walk and exercise regularly – 30 minutes of cardio most days of the week can help to lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 mmHg. (best types of exercise are walking, jogging, cycling, swimming)
  • Watch your waistline – being overweight can increase your blood pressure.  Carrying too much weight around your waist can cause high blood pressure.  Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (102 centimeters). Women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (89 centimeters).
  • Eat a healthy diet – whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mmHg (keep a food diary)
  • Eat potassium-rich foods – sweet potatoes, tomatoes, orange juice, potatoes, bananas, kidney beans, peas, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and dried fruits such as prunes and raisins
  • Reduce sodium in your diet – A small reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg
  • Eat dark chocolate – dark chocolate contains flavanols that make blood vessels more elastic and increase the chances of low blood pressure.  Have half an ounce daily, and make sure it contains at least 70% cocoa.
  • Take a supplement – Coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant required for energy production, can reduce blood pressure by up to 17 mmHg over 10 mmHg (60 to 100 mg supplement up to three times a day)
  • Switch to decaf coffee – caffeine can raise blood pressure
  • Drink hibiscus tea – the phytochemicals in hibiscus are help to reduce high blood pressure
  • Get help for Sleep Apnea – Half of people with sleep apnea have high blood pressure
  • Relax with music – the right tunes can help you get lower blood pressure
  • Breathe deeply – Inhale deeply and expand your belly. Exhale and release all of your tension.  Try 5 minutes in the morning and at night for low blood pressure.
  • Limit Alcohol intake
  • Quit Smoking
  • Monitor your blood pressure at home and see your doctor regularly