Here's How to Lower Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure isn't something to ignore. It can cause a heart attack or stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Nearly half of adults in the United States (47%, or 116 million) have hypertension, defined as a systolic blood pressure greater than 130 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure greater than 80 mmHg or are taking medication for hypertension." There are several ways to help lower your blood pressure and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Brooke Nicole a Nutrition Consultant with a Master's degree in Public Health who explained simple ways to manage your blood pressure. That said, please always consult with your doctor for medical advice. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
High Blood Pressure is a Silent Killer
Nicole says, "High blood pressure is a problem because it is not a stand alone problem. Unfortunately, there are a few other 'silent killers' that make up the silent epidemic, which is called the Metabolic Syndrome that are affected by the same three main causes; diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits.
This metabolic syndrome consists of 5 main problems:
- A large waistline
- A high triglyceride level
- A low HDL cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- High fasting blood sugar
The reason why this group of syndromes, especially high blood pressure, is called the silent killer is because most oftentimes the signs and symptoms are misunderstood or not even noticed at all. The only sign that you may get high blood pressure is a heart attack."
Check Your Blood Pressure
Nicole explains, "When your blood pressure is too high you may feel tired, experience headaches and have anxiety. These symptoms are linked to many other issues, which make pinpointing them to high blood pressure more difficult. Checking your blood pressure regularly, especially for those over the age of 40, will significantly reduce your risk of unwanted heart attack."
"When you do not drink enough water, your body compensates by retaining sodium," says Nicole. "Without water, your blood also thickens, which causes your heart muscles to work harder to squeeze your blood through your blood vessels and leads to hypertension. Ultimately, water helps to detoxify your blood and remove excess sodium in your body."
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Lower Your Salt Intake
Nicole states, "Salt attracts water, which your kidneys process both of those. Your kidneys do a pretty good job at controlling your level of salt, but when there is an abundant amount of salt, your kidney is not able to process it appropriately and therefore, makes it harder for your kidneys to remove all the excess water and sodium that ultimately causes pressure on your heart artery walls. The best way to lower your salt intake is to eat less processed foods."
"You naturally feel better when you exercise because of the released endorphins, but most importantly, exercise is helpful to reverse high blood pressure because it makes your heart stronger," Nicole says. "When you have a strong heart, it is able to pump more blood with less effort while also releasing the pressure on your artery walls."
Make Healthier Food Choices
Nicole says, "Limit your food intake of sugar, salt, and refined carbohydrates, while eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, soy products, as well as some good fats that contain omega 3 fatty acids. Mediterranean dietary patterns and diets composed largely of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, and soy have been proven to lead to weight loss and a healthy heart."