According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 75 million American adults are living with high blood pressure. Therefore, roughly one out of every three adults in the United States has a disease that can increase his or her likelihood of developing heart disease or experiencing a stroke.
Dubbed the “silent killer,” people with high blood pressure often don’t exhibit any symptoms. Fortunately, many people negate the need to take hypertension lowering medications by utilizing natural solutions. If your blood pressure levels are soaring, consider the following alternative treatments.
Indulge In Dark Chocolate
Some people mistakenly assume eating healthy requires them to abstain from chocolate forever. Thankfully, all types of chocolate aren’t created equal. Dark chocolate is packed with flavonoids, plant compounds that dilate your blood vessels.
Research published by Lee Hooper et al. in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests consuming flavonoid-rich chocolate can improve numerous markers of heart health over the short-term, including decreasing blood pressure levels.
Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption
According to the Mayo Clinic, consuming more than moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages can increase your blood pressure readings by several points. Drinking heavily can also diminish the effectiveness of blood pressure medicines.
To prevent blood pressure spikes, women and men over the age of 65 shouldn’t indulge in more than one alcoholic drink each day. Men under the age of 65 shouldn’t drink more than two alcoholic beverages daily. Twelve ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or one and a half ounces of 80-proof liquor constitute one drink.
Consume More Potassium-Rich Foods
Potassium is an essential mineral that helps your body eliminate sodium. It also reduces pressure on your blood vessels. To increase your potassium intake, strive to eat less processed foods while increasing your intake of fresh, whole ones. Excellent sources of potassium include leafy greens, sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, beans, nuts, seeds, and salmon.
Slash Sodium Intake
Slashing the amount of sodium you consume is one of the easiest ways to lower your blood pressure levels. Even a small reduction in sodium intake can typically yield noticeable results. According to the Mayo Clinic, African Americans, those over the age of 51, and people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, or diabetes should consume 1,500 milligrams or less of sodium each day. Everyone else should limit his or her sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams or fewer daily. To purge salt from your diet, vigilantly read food labels when shopping for groceries. Avoid consuming processed foods when possible. Resist the urge to grab the salt shaker at the dinner table too.
Snack on Berries
Whenever you desire a satisfying, sweet treat, reach for a handful of berries instead of a bowl of ice cream, a cookie, or a piece of cake. Berries are a tremendous source of polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant compounds that are believed to be able to both decrease your blood pressure levels and lower your overall risk of developing heart disease.
The Mayo Clinic reports exercising regularly, a minimum of 30 minutes on most days of the week, can reduce your blood pressure by four to nine milliliters of mercury, mm Hg. However, if you stop working out, your blood pressure numbers will likely rise again. Those with pre-hypertension may be able to avoid succumbing to regular hypertension with consistent workouts. If you already have hypertension, exercising can help you lower your blood pressure numbers to safer levels. Walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, and cycling are all fantastic forms of exercise for lowering blood pressure readings.
Hug a Loved One
Besides making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, hugging a loved one might also lower your blood pressure levels. A study published in Biological Psychology suggests women who frequently hug their significant others tend to have lower blood pressure readings than those who don’t. The reason for this phenomenon may be oxytocin, a bonding hormone. In addition to having a calming effect, oxytocin may also inhibit sympathetic nervous system activity in your heart and blood vessels.
Soak Up Some Sun
Lowering your blood pressure might be as simple as soaking up some sun by the pool. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh discovered that participants exposed to ultraviolet, UV, rays experienced a substantial decrease in their blood pressure levels even before their production of vitamin D revved up. Sunlight transforms the nitrate stored in your skin to nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide is a compound that helps to dilate your blood vessels.
High blood pressure is a serious disease that shouldn’t be ignored. If you have hypertension, talk with your doctor about incorporating one or more of the aforementioned natural treatments into your lifestyle.
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