Five Tips to Lower Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is sometimes referred to as the “silent killer” because it often has no symptoms, but it can lead to heart disease and strokes. According to the CDC, heart disease and strokes are both in the top five for causes of death in the United States. High blood pressure can damage your arteries, decreasing the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart.
With May being National Blood Pressure Awareness Month, it is a great time to learn more about developing healthy habits that can help lower your blood pressure. Below are five simple tips to do so:
Incorporate Yoga or Mediation into your daily routine. Mindfulness meditation has been proven to reduce stress. Researchers found that meditation lowers blood pressure for 80% of the people who practice. Yoga, which also includes meditation techniques, breathing control and posture training can also be effective in reducing stress and thus helping to reduce blood pressure. Studies have also shown that those who practice these techniques together are nearly twice as effective as yoga practices that didn’t embrace all three of these elements.
Add high protein foods to your diet. People who eat more protein have a lower risk of developing high blood pressure. Those who eat an average of 100 grams of protein per day, have about a 40 percent lower risk of having high blood pressure than those on a lower protein diet. High protein foods such as fish, cheese, eggs, nuts and beans are all great options to consider when preparing your meals.
Include vitamins and minerals into your routine. Easily accessible supplements like omega-3 and magnesium can be beneficial in lowering blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids can help lower triglyceride levels and break up other fats, which can result in lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of other cardiovascular problems. Omega -3 can also be found in flexseeds, chia seeds, fish, nuts, avocado, vegetable oils and more. Magnesium supplementation is also important to help lower blood pressure. Essentially it helps the blood vessels relax which results in maintaining optimum levels. One thing to note is that magnesium also helps regulate levels of vitamin D. It increases vitamin D levels in people who are deficient but causes a reduction in people whose intake is high. Magnesium can also be found in whole grains, dark-green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and dry beans.
Eat less processed food. Most of the excess salt in our diets comes from processed foods, and restaurants also incorporate a lot of salt into dishes. Popular high salt items like deli meats, canned soups, pizza and chips can contribute to high-blood pressure. Limiting processed foods and checking nutrition labels can help ensure you don’t consume an excess of high sodium foods. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a sodium listing of 5 percent or less on a food label is considered low, while 20 percent or more is high.
Eat dark chocolate. While binging dark chocolate isn’t necessarily healthy, small amounts may be beneficial. Dark chocolate is rich with cocoa solids, which contain flavanols. Flavanols are a type of flavonoid — a plant compound with powerful disease-fighting antioxidants. Flavanols cause blood vessels to widen which has shown to help improve heart health over time, including lowering blood pressure.
Maintaining healthy blood pressure levels is critical for decreasing your risk of developing heart disease and the possibility of strokes. High blood pressure can also damage other organs such as the brain, kidneys and eyes so it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly. Developing healthy habits such as incorporating supplements into your daily routine and small changes to your diet and exercise regimen can have a big impact on your health and the health of your heart. If you experience high blood pressure, consult with your healthcare provider.
Bio: Justin Marsh is the Founder and CEO of Arthur Andrew Medical, a leading manufacturer of enzyme and probiotic-based dietary supplements, headquartered in Scottsdale.