Blood pressure - simply put, this is the force your blood applies to the walls of your blood vessels. If this force is high, then the increased pressure can damage the blood vessels, which in turn can increasingly damage the heart and different organs of the body. Call it high blood pressure or hypertension, but living with this chronic disease is not easy.
According to research published in the Indian Heart Journal in 2019, almost one in every three adults in India suffers from high blood pressure. This disease, therefore, has a high prevalence in India and can lead to cardiovascular diseases, strokes, aneurysms, metabolic syndromes and even dementia. Early diagnosis of high blood pressure can help you cope with much more ease, because like all chronic diseases, this one can be managed but not cured.
Medications to help you control high blood pressure levels are easily available in the market, and it’s likely that your doctor will recommend these medications to you if your blood pressure is particularly high. But medications alone will never suffice because a lifestyle disease like this can only be managed through lifestyle changes. The good thing is that most lifestyle changes are natural and all you need to implement them is determination. The following are some of the easiest ways to manage high blood pressure naturally:
1. Reduce salt intake: This is the first recommendation any expert would make, because a low-sodium diet is known to improve symptoms of hypertension. But this is easier said than done, because sodium is hidden in many foods, from ketchup to bread. You might have to learn to read labels to monitor your salt intake better.
2. Get more potassium: According to the US’ Cleveland Clinic, a daily intake of 3,000 to 3,500 mg of potassium can reduce your blood pressure levels effectively. So, increase your intake of potassium by eating more bananas, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, etc. However, if you also have kidney problems then consult your doctor about potassium intake.
3. Lose weight: Being overweight or obese can increase your blood pressure. So, inversely, shedding some kilos can reduce your blood pressure levels. Even reducing four kilos can improve your condition.
4. Limit alcohol: Drinking too much or too often can spike your blood pressure levels, so keep your alcohol intake to a minimum.
5. Kick the butt: Cigarette butt, that is. Nicotine addiction can keep your blood pressure elevated for long periods of time, so quit smoking immediately.
6. Off with the stress: Stress not only increases your blood pressure levels but chronic stress can keep those levels elevated for a prolonged period. Adopt effective means of de-stressing, like yoga, meditation, etc.
7. Exercise: Walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, playing a sport - these are all forms of exercise that can help improve your blood pressure levels. Try being active for at least 30 minutes to an hour every day.
8. Follow the DASH diet: The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is one of the most effective ways to manage your blood pressure in the long run. It involves eliminating high-fat foods and eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and fish, nuts and seeds.
For more information, read our article on Foods to reduce and control high blood pressure.
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