To lower blood pressure and thus fight hypertension, it is essential to lead a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle. High blood pressure is dangerous. The heart is forced to make a greater effort to pump blood into the rest of the body and this can affect the appearance of various diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart failure, chronic kidney disease and other disorders such as atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. In addition to taking the medication prescribed by your doctor, there are numerous natural methods to lower the pressure, such as doing physical activity, maintaining your weight and reducing the consumption of sodium.
1) Reduce sodium consumption.
You should take less than 2300 mg per day, preferably remaining below the 1500 mg threshold. Simple measures can be taken to limit the use of sodium immediately:
Do not use salt. Whenever you can, try to season the dishes yourself;
Avoid products of industrial and pre-packaged origin. Even fast food foods are notoriously high in sodium;
Buy products without added sodium. Many canned foods and vegetables contain sodium so they can stay fresh longer.
2) Run, ride a bike, swim or exercise for an hour a day 3-5 times a week.
Doing sports regularly is essential to keep the pressure under control. Since your goal should be to speed up your heart rate throughout the workout, look for an activity that will make you sweat and make breathing difficult. To make the pressure even lower it takes only a long daily walk.
Train with someone. Motivating each other, you will encourage yourself to regularly do sports;
If possible, take the stairs. Use the lawn mower in the garden, try to work standing up or use a location that encourages motor activity and generally tries to incorporate physical activity into your daily life.
3) Cut out moments of relaxation every day.
Anxiety increases the pressure. Stress has a profound effect on health, so you need to find a way to switch off once you get home, when you are more likely to relax.
Cut 15-30 minutes each day for yourself. Close the door, turn off the phone and dedicate to an activity in perfect solitude.
Read a good book or listen to music before going to bed. Before falling asleep, set aside time to free yourself from all distraction and tension.
Learn to say no to new responsibilities.
Take advantage of the holiday days, in this way you will be happier and more productive in the long term.
4) Eat healthy at every meal and limit the portions.
Proper nutrition involves the consumption of lean meats (such as chicken, turkey and fish), a large variety of complex carbohydrates (such as oats, quinoa and whole wheat flour), lots of fruit and vegetables. Sodium can be eliminated easily, favouring lowering of pressure and improving fitness in general.
Wait 10-15 minutes before serving more food. The body needs time to process the sense of satiety, so it often happens that a person continues to eat even when he is not really hungry.
Try to consume at least a portion of fruit and/or vegetables per meal. Potassium and magnesium, which are found in many foods of natural origin, help to lower the pressure
You prefer healthy snacks, for example eating hummus, fruit, carrots, low sodium crackers and yoghurt. It is precisely the snacks that make the most of the people “roar”.
Reduce Sodium Consumption
5) Try to take less than 1500 mg of sodium a day.
It will not always be possible, but in principle, you should not consume more than 2300 mg per day.
Table salt has a sodium content of 40%, equivalent to about half a teaspoon of salt;
Try to avoid foods with sodium content above 200 mg per serving;
Generally, industrial foods that have a long shelf life have a higher sodium content than fresh or plant-based foods.
6) You prefer spices to season foods.
If you open the doors to new flavours in the kitchen, you can reduce the consumption of salt and condiments characterized by a high concentration of sodium. Here are some examples of low sodium alternatives:
Herbs: basil, bay leaf, coriander, dill, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, tarragon and marjoram;
Spices: cinnamon, cloves, curry, ginger, mace and nutmeg;
Condiments: chives, garlic, lemon, dried or diced onion and vinegar.
7) Choose foods whose label indicates that they contain little sodium.
However, do not blindly trust what is reported on the package. For example, a product with a low sodium content does not necessarily mean that it contains little, but it is possible that it has less than before. Here is a list of some phrases that are typically found on the packaging and its interpretation :
Without sodium or without salt: each portion contains maximum 5 mg of sodium;
Very low sodium content: each portion contains 6-35 mg of sodium;
Low sodium: each portion contains 36-140 mg of sodium;
Limited sodium content: each portion contains 50% sodium as compared to the portion of the normal pack. Some of these products may still have high amounts of sodium.
Less sodium: each portion contains 75% sodium equivalent to the regular version.
Without salt or salt added: no salt was added when processing a food that normally contains it. Some of these products may still be rich in sodium.
8) Replace foods high in sodium with healthier alternatives.
Often you will realize that versions of certain low sodium foods do not alter the taste, texture or shelf life of a product. For example, canned peas can be replaced without problems with those frozen in most recipes, yet the former contain a sodium amount of 3 times greater than the latter.
In general, foods of industrial origin contain more sodium than fresh foods;
Usually, foods that last longer contain more sodium amounts than short-term variants;
Restaurants rarely know the exact amounts of sodium or salt contained in a dish. Research to find out how a dish is prepared or learn about the sodium content of each ingredient.
9) Look for healthy alternatives to snack.
Snacks, especially salty snacks, are bitter enemies of low-sodium diets. If you like to snack, try products containing less sodium or play the healthy version of your favourite snacks.
Integrates fruit and vegetables. If you like crispy foods, try munching carrots. If you have a sweet tooth, eat apples or prunes.
Try healthy but tasty snacks. For example, frozen berries are great in summer, especially with yoghurt.
Try the versions without salt or prepare the snack at home. For example, dried fruit without salt is readily available. Homemade popcorn without added salt has much lower sodium content than packaged ones.
10) Gradually reduce sodium consumption.
Changing is a slow process and the results are not immediate. Changing one’s lifestyle requires a lot of time and patience. The secret is to have attainable and realistic expectations. Proceed at a pace that makes you feel secure.
Take out one food at a time. If you follow a diet rich in salt and sodium, it will take a couple of weeks to move to a healthy diet. Also, it will probably take months before you can get completely used to it and feel really satisfied with these changes.
Keep your cravings under control. If you eliminate too many foods in a short time or stop consuming a food that your body is used to, you’ll probably end up having irresistible cravings. Try eating a healthier version. If necessary, allow yourself a portion of a reasonable size to quench your desire.
To eat properly
11) Take 4800 mg of potassium per day.
This substance counteracts the effects of sodium. You prefer foods that are rich, such as fruits and vegetables, or you take supplements of vitamins and minerals. Here are some examples of foods that contain potassium:
Bananas: 422 mg;
Baked potatoes with peel: 738 mg;
Orange juice: 496 mg;
Low-fat yoghurt: 540 mg.
12) Take more vitamin D.
According to research, people with higher levels of vitamin D tend to have lower blood pressure . Increase consumption by doing the following:
Expose yourself to the sun. Sun rays allow you to fill up with vitamin D. Expose yourself for 20-25 minutes a day can bring many benefits.
Eat fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna or eel. Fish is also a source rich in omega-3 fatty acids, important for enjoying good cardiac health.
Eat milk and derivatives like skimmed yoghurt. However, avoid cheese, rich in fat and sodium.
13) Consume less caffeine.
Individuals who rarely take this substance may experience increased pressure, especially in cases of hypertension. Caffeine contributes to hardening of the arteries, therefore the heart will have to make more efforts to pump the blood and the pressure will rise.
To understand if caffeine affects the pressure sips a drink that contains it and measures the pressure within 30 minutes. If you have increased from 5 to 10 mmHg, then it is likely that the response is due to caffeine. Contact your doctor to confirm this.
Although most researchers believe that coffee makes the pressure rise, according to other studies limiting caffeine consumption (if it is taken regularly) does not allow it to be lowered.
14) Drink less alcohol.
In small quantities, it can lower the pressure. However, excessive consumption can make it rise and reduce the effectiveness of many medicines.
Alcohol consumption is subjective. Ask for clarification from your doctor;
Prefer alcohol with low sodium and salt content.
15) Avoid smoking.
Smoking a cigarette increases the pressure for a few minutes, not to mention that it harms your health in general. If you smoke, it will be more difficult to maintain a good physical shape and the pressure will rise. Many people smoke to control stress, so it is important to find an alternative to fight it.
Cigarette smoking can lead to health complications that will further affect stress and negatively affect one’s lifestyle.
Cigarettes cost. Smoking can also cause economic stress in a limited budget.
In some cultures and cities, cigarette smoking is marked by social disapproval. Being rejected or excluded by friends or co-workers, for this reason, can be a source of stress.