Tired of fighting high blood pressure? Try these synergistic strategies and take control of your heart’s heatlh.
By Sari Harrar, author of Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure is a serious health condition that is so out of control in America that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently declared it “public health enemy number two,” right behind smoking. Medicine helps. But there’s plenty more you can do to lower your numbers naturally and effectively.
Can you imagine attacking the root causes of high blood pressure on all fronts with eight proven, drug-free strategies? And while these lifestyle changes are proven to work individually, emerging research shows that combining them increases their pressure-lowering power. That’s the magic of synergy.
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Check out these 8 synergistic strategies:
1. Eat less salt, but never have a bland meal.
Lower your intake of sodium—a proven blood pressure booster—to a healthy, moderate amount: 2,300 milligrams per day. That’s low enough to help reverse high blood pressure, but not so low that you’re stuck eating tasteless food. Use a few grains of salt to intensify flavor and create low-salt and no-salt spice blends that enhance the taste of food even more. Don’t believe what the media say about salt being “safe” or low-sodium diets being problematic. Salt raises blood pressure by increasing the fluid level in your blood, and in many people, especially African Americans, salt in excess is correlated with hypertension, secondary to poor diets that are filled with salt. The truth is, most Americans eat too much of this stuff, most of it from packaged, processed, and restaurant foods.
2. Enjoy mineral-packed meals that regulate blood pressure naturally.
Most of us don’t get nearly enough calcium, magnesium, and potassium from food, which is the best source of these important, pressure-controlling minerals. More and more research is showing that healthy BP control relies on getting twice as much potassium as sodium every day, yet just 2 percent of us hit that ratio. Try to get 1,200 milligrams of calcium, 4,700 milligrams of potassium, and 420 milligrams of magnesium every day.
3. Fit in a pressure-lowering interval walk.
Do 20-minute interval walk 3 days a week. Alternating between fast and moderate walking speeds can actually lower BP better than sticking with just a steady pace. On other days, walk at a steady pace (as a break from interval walks) but break it up into two or three shorter walks a day—a time-saver that actually keeps your BP lower, longer.
4. Strength-train twice a week.
Strength training helps you lose weight, which itself lowers blood pressure. Anyone can do easy strength training routines. By choosing the right weights for you, it’s safe and effective for beginners and experienced exercisers.
5. Do yoga four times a week.
Alternate between yoga and strength training. Yoga decreases stress and dials down your nervous system’s fight-or-flight response, reducing stress hormone levels that boost blood pressure by tightening arteries.
6. Lose weight.
And trimming excess weight reduces blood pressure. It gives your heart a break, lessens the inflammation that contributes to high blood pressure, and even takes pressure off your kidneys, which play a big part in BP control.
7. Tame tension in 5 minutes.
Meditation can help shut down stress, thereby easing blood pressure. Use your breath to calm down whenever you feel tense.
8. Track your blood pressure.
Research shows that keeping tabs on your blood pressure can help you reduce it by a few points. Knowing your numbers will help you stay accountable. Seeing results will inspire you to keep going strong! Or take advantage of free blood pressure checks in your community to stay on top of your numbers between doctor visits.
For more ways to improve your blood pressure reading, learn tricks for working these three power minerals into your diet!