Sunday, July 17, 2011

7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure puts you at higher risk of strokes and heart attacks.  You can lower your blood pressure naturally by doing the following:

  1. Lose weight - the rule of thumb is that one pound of body fat loss drops systolic blood pressure (upper number) by one point.  For tips on losing weight, type "weight loss" in the Search box in the upper right hand corner of my blog.
  2. Exercise regularly - when sedentary people begin an exercise program, their systolic pressure dropped an average of 10 points.  The key word here is "regular" exercise.  Exercising for an week and stopping for a week doesn't work.  You must exercise on a regular basis.  Walking and biking are great ways to work exercise into your daily life.  Walk or bike to work.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Or take the elevator to a few floors below the floor your office is on and walk up the stairs for the remainder of the way.
  3. Reduce sodium intake - some people get spikes in blood pressure after consuming sodium.  The easiest way to reduce sodium is to limit processed foods and do not add salt to meals.
  4. Reduce meat consumption - vegetarians on average have lower blood pressure possibly because they eat more fruits and vegetables which are full of antioxidants.  Red meat, especially, is bad for so many reasons. Eliminate red meat and add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
  5. Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption -  alcohol consumption, in some people, raises blood pressure.  Try eliminating alcohol for a couple of months and see how it affects your blood pressure.  If you are a heavy drinker, you could see as much as a 20 point drop.
  6. Increase potassium intake - studies have shown people who've taken potassium supplements dropped an average of five points in blood pressure.  Potassium rich foods include apples, nectarines, potatoes, tomatoes, melons, and bananas.  Each day eat a minimum of five fruits and vegetables.    
  7. Do relaxation exercises - many individuals who practice relaxation exercises like meditation, yoga, or tai chi have lower blood pressure than those who don't.  Take a class or get some good DVDs (see my store at the right).
Note:  Do not reduce blood pressure medication, start an exercise program, or a diet program without your doctor's approval.

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