In the U.S., around one in three adults has high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. High blood pressure increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, and kidney disease, so it’s important to know how to lower blood pressure if you have it or are at risk of developing it over time. Here are seven ways to do just that.
1) Get your BMI in control
The first thing that you should do is find out your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI is a weight-to-height ratio. It can tell you if you are underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.
If your BMI is high and you have other risk factors such as high blood pressure or a family history of heart disease, then lowering it may help lower your blood pressure.
Reduce salt : As a general rule, avoid eating more than 2 grams of salt per day for every 1,000 calories that you consume in food. A person who consumes 1,500 calories a day should not eat more than 300 mg of sodium daily.
2) Quit smoking
One of the easiest ways to lower blood pressure is by quitting smoking.
Studies have shown that smokers are at an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
What’s more, if you smoke, your risk for both conditions increases as your number of cigarettes per day and years of smoking goes up. If you’re a smoker looking to lower blood pressure—and improve your overall health—consider kicking your habit for good. Talking with a healthcare provider can help you get started on that path.
3) Cut out alcohol
There’s a fair amount of evidence linking alcohol consumption with high blood pressure, and you may not even realize just how much alcohol you’re consuming. But it’s important to remember that beer, wine, and liquor are all forms of alcohol. If you drink one day and three days later your blood pressure is up, alcohol could be to blame.
And that doesn’t mean switching from red wine to white will solve all your problems—red wine can increase high blood pressure as well! Your best bet is going booze-free for several weeks or months until your body reverts back (hopefully) to normal.
4) Eat right
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and one of America’s leading killers. Your doctor has probably already recommended that you eat a healthy diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products as part of a low-sodium eating plan.
Diet alone may not be enough to lower your blood pressure significantly, but it can certainly play an important role—along with other lifestyle changes—in helping you manage your condition.
For some people with high blood pressure, cutting back on sodium isn’t enough: They need to make permanent lifestyle changes like losing weight or quitting smoking before they can start reducing their sodium intake at all.
5) Exercise more
One of the best ways to lower blood pressure is through exercise. Aim for three days a week of moderate aerobic activity (like swimming or brisk walking), four days a week of strength training, and two or more days a week of muscle-toning activities like yoga.
If you’re already hitting that mark, try adding in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) twice a week, which has been shown to help lower blood pressure even more.
Cardio and strength training are especially good at helping lower blood pressure because they have an impact on your circulatory system: cardio helps boost blood flow and strengthen your heart; strength training tones muscles that support circulation in your legs and body.
6) Drink water
Some of our blood pressure is determined by genetics, but there are still many things you can do to lower your blood pressure.
In fact, one study shows that for every extra glass of water consumed per day, systolic blood pressure dropped by 2.3 points (and diastolic went down by 1.5). What’s more: Drinking water can help reduce cholesterol levels and high blood sugar,
which are also major factors in heart disease risk. Start each day with a 16-ounce glass of water and continue drinking as much as you like throughout your day—water has no calories!
It may not solve all your problems, but it sure can’t hurt!
7) Take meds
High blood pressure is a chronic condition—it can’t be cured, only managed. In fact, more than half of Americans with high blood pressure don’t have it under control.
High blood pressure can lead to strokes and heart attacks if left untreated, so managing your hypertension should be a top priority for anyone diagnosed with it.
If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about what treatment options are right for you. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes like losing weight and eating better, along with medication.