Knowing your Blood Pressure
Knowing your blood pressure could save your life! We look into how to lower blood pressure naturally by eating the right foods and living the right lifestyle.
Measuring blood pressure
Systolic pressure is always mentioned first and is the measurement of the blood through the arteries and ideally should be 120 or less but if your readings are between 120 – 139 this is seen as normal to borderline high blood pressure.
Readings of 140 and above are seen as high blood pressure.
Always make sure you get your blood pressure checked regularly by a medical professional.
The diastolic pressure or bottom reading is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. This reading should be 80 or less.
Readings of between 80 – 89 is normal but higher than ideal. Over 90 for repeated readings is seen as hypertension.
Do you have hypertension or high blood pressure?
How do you know if you have hypertension or high blood pressure? You tend not too!
Nearly one third of people with high blood pressure are un-aware.
This is why it is called the silent killer. Hypertension is the number one cause of heart related disease.
If you would like to keep a constant eye on it you can buy a blood pressure monitor like this best selling Omron from somewhere like amazon at a very good price for example this best selling monitor.
BUT as we said before if you feel unwell or think you may have high blood pressure, you MUST always get a medical professional to check your blood pressure.
So let’s look into how to lower blood pressure naturally….
How to lower blood pressure naturally
Is there a way to control high blood pressure without chemical intervention?
You can help using natural ways and prevention is always better than cure…
- Weight – being overweight makes the heart work harder so even a small loss in weight can make a difference.
- Salt – recommended daily intake of salt is less than 6g. There is a link between salt intake and blood pressure.
- Stress – increases blood pressure. Over time high stress levels can cause hypertension.
- Alcohol – Blood pressure can be raised by too much alcohol so moderate the drinking of alcohol. NHS recommended limits are three to four units a day for men and two to three units daily for women.
- Caffeine – Found in coffee, tea, cola and some medicines and energy drinks. More than four cups of coffee could increase blood pressure, try decaf.
- Exercise – Lower the risk of blood pressure by taking regular exercise. A 150 minutes exercise a week is recommended by the NHS.
Weight and High blood pressure
High blood pressure and being over weight are intrinsically linked. Increased body fat means the heart has to work harder when circulating the blood round the body.
If your BMI (Body Mass Index) is over 25 to 28 losing a couple of pounds makes a difference to the blood pressure.
A study done in 2014 showed that anyone gaining 5% of their body weight showed a slight rise in blood pressure. The greatest increases in blood pressure were seen if extra fat was added to the belly area.
By eating a healthy diet including vegetables, fruit, healthy fat and high quality protein as well as avoiding processed foods that contain sodium and calories you can really help lower blood pressure naturally.
That along with activity that improves lean muscle mass and sustains the metabolic rate.
Exercise is a great way to lower blood pressure. It does not have to be in a gym if you have an aversion to classes or expensive gyms, a brisk walk, swim or bike ride is a great way to try and help lower blood pressure.
As long as you break into a sweat it means you are exercising hard enough.
In a 2015 study of over weight, diabetic adults showed that a few minutes of daily exercise lowered their blood pressure.
A study in Brazil on older women with hypertension showed that a weight training programme significantly reduced the diastolic and systolic blood pressure which was maintained for an hour after the training finished.
Sleep deprivation can mean cravings for junk food, over eating and an increase in stress levels.
You can also benefit from an afternoon nap, if you have time.
Adults with high blood pressure who took an hour long daily siesta saw a drop in the systolic rate of on average 5% when compared with those who did not nap.
Stress can be a killer as it causes the blood pressure to rise in the long and short term, so find a way that you like to relax, try yoga and meditation these have all been found to be good choices. Even just having a good laugh!
Relaxing with Music
Try relaxing with music and slow breathing for 30 minutes a day to bring down blood pressure.
Researchers at the University of Florence tried soothing classical, Indian or Celtic music with 28 adults that were taking medication for hypertension.
Their average systolic readings decreased by 3.2 points in a week.
Drinking alcohol can have benefits to hypertension sufferers and lower the risk of heart disease but more than one drink a day for women and two for men could have an opposite effect.
One drink equates to 12oz of beer, 5 oz. of wine or 1.5oz of a spirit. As well as being the cause of other chronic conditions high consumption of alcohol increases blood pressure and is detrimental to your health.
A 2016 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows that regular binge drinking in young adults have shown them to be suffering with prehypertension which can lead to hypertension.
Try these 11 foods that can help lower blood pressure
There are a number of foods that can help you avoid hypertension and will even help lower high blood pressure.
Research has shown that a diet rich in foods containing potassium, magnesium and calcium but low in sodium could help to bring your blood pressure to normal.
A 2013 study has shown that flax seed can reduce blood pressure even if taking medication.
The four compounds contained in flaxseeds, alpha linolenic acid, peptides, lignans and fiber could singularly or all be responsible for the reduction in blood pressure this is yet to be proven.
2. Olive Oil
Rich in polyphenols Olive oil has been found by Spanish researchers to have an effect on systolic and diastolic blood pressure over a four month period.
The nitrates in beetroot have been shown by Australian researchers to reduce systolic pressure over a 24 hour period, six hours after drinking beetroot juice.
Must contain at least 70% cocoa. Dark chocolate is rich in flavanols this has been shown to reduce both systolic and diastolic pressure in anyone suffering from hypertension.
The polyphenols contained in cocoa products are associated with the formation of nitric acid. This substance widens the blood vessels thereby easing blood flow.
But it must be remembered that chocolate also contain sugar and caffeine so no more that one square a day.
An alternative to chocolate, is carob. With zero caffeine and no theobromine, it’s packed with vitamins and minerals.
5. Salmon and other fatty fish
Has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids which has the effect of lowering blood pressure.
Eating fatty fish three times a week has been linked to the diastolic pressure being reduced.
Further research is needed to confirm the amounts you need though.
Loaded with anti-oxidants like phenols and anthocyanins hibiscus has been shown in a 2010 study to reduce both systolic and diastolic pressures by drinking three daily servings of hibiscus tea.
Do not exceed this amount as the manganese, copper and iron content could go above recommended levels.
7. Pistachio nuts
A 2013 study carried out over a 4 week period has shown that by eating a serving of Pistachio nuts (unsalted) daily reduced the systolic blood pressure.
It is not clear exactly as to why, was it due to an increase in the volume of blood pumped from the heart or did the nuts reduce the constriction of the blood vessels.
8. Sunflower seeds
A delicious snack and rich in Vitamin E and magnesium. A quarter cup makes for a delicious, nutritious snack.
All kinds pinto, lima, kidney and all colours, rich in fiber, potassium and magnesium all excellent at lowering blood pressure and improving the health of the heart.
10. Whole grains
Three servings of whole grains has been found to lower systolic pressure. The research is not clear as to why but the findings point to cholesterol levels benefitting from eating whole grains.
11. Pomegranate juice
Pomegranate juice has been found by British researchers to be linked to the lowering of both systolic and diastolic pressures by drinking more than a cup of pomegranate juice a day, for four weeks.
The research is not clear on why but it is thought to be the potassium or the polyphenols found in the juice of this fruit.
Changes in your Diet
Any changes to your diet if you are on medication should be discussed with your doctor as some foods may have adverse effects.
How is your Blood pressure?
Do you suffer from high blood pressure? If you already take natural measures to keep your blood pressure low we’d love to know what you do….
If you have any other tips on how to lower blood pressure naturally we’d love to know in the comments below….
PLEASE NOTE:- The advise above is NOT meant to replace medical advise given by a medical professional. You MUST always seek medical advise from your doctor if you think you have a problem linked to blood pressure.