1. Eat less processed food
Most of the extra salt in our diet comes from processed foods and restaurant food, not your salt shaker at home . Popular high-salt items include deli meats, canned soup, pizza, chips, and other snacks.
Foods labeled “low fat” are usually high in salt and sugar to compensate for the loss of fat. Fat is what gives food taste and makes you feel full.
Cutting down on (or even better, cutting out) processed food will give you less salt, less sugar, and fewer refined carbohydrates. All of this results in lower blood pressure.
2. Stop smoking
Stopping smoking is good for your health all-around. Smoking causes an immediate but temporary increase in your blood pressure and an increase in your heart rate.
In the long term, the chemicals in tobacco can increase your blood pressure by damaging your blood vessel walls and narrowing your arteries. The hardened arteries cause higher blood pressure. The chemicals in tobacco can affect your blood vessels even if you’re around secondhand smoke. Children around secondhand smoke had higher blood pressure than a control group.
3. Reduce excess stress
We live in stressful times. Workplace and family demands, national and international politics — they all contribute to stress. Finding ways to reduce your own stress is important for your health and your blood pressure.
Relieving stress starts with recognizing your stress triggers and your relaxation inducers. Practice deep breathing, take a walk, watch a comedy, listen to relaxing music. These are some of the ways people successfully relieve stress.
4. Try meditation or yoga
Mindfulness and meditation, including transcendental meditation, have long been used (and studied) as a method to reduce stress. A 2012 study notes that one university program in Massachusetts has helped more than 19,000 people using a meditation and mindfulness program.
Yoga, which involves breathing control, posture, and meditation techniques, can also be effective in reducing stress and blood pressure.
5. Eat less sodium, more potassium
Cutting back on salt and increasing your potassium intake can lower your blood pressure (13).
Potassium is a double winner: It lessens the effect of salt in your system, and also eases tension in your blood vessels.
It’s easy to increase your intake of potassium — so many foods are naturally high in potassium. Here are a few:
- dairy foods (milk, yogurt)
- fruits (bananas, apricots, oranges)
- vegetables (sweet potato, potato, tomato, greens, spinach)
Image Source – Google Image