Naturally Lower Blood Pressure – 8 Simple Steps

Blood pressure. That dreaded squeazy cuff that makes your arm go numb and brings either good news or bad. Thanks to genetics and diet I myself have been brought bad news about my blood pressure as soon as I hit 20 years old. But at such a young age does one really want to go on blood pressure medications? Usually the answer is no. Every medication a person takes is going to have some kind of side effect. The more medications you are on the more complications you are at risk for and the snowball effect starts piling up.

How then can we at least get our blood pressure down without taking some darned pills? Here are eight steps you can take to help naturally lower blood pressure. It wont be easy, but modifying these things can help other things in your life as well such as weight, heart disease, organ damage, and other risks associated with high blood pressure.

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1. Weight loss. I know you were dreading to hear those words as much as I was but it is a proven fact! Losing just 10 lbs can make a different on your blood pressure. Getting below an obese BMI or even below an overweight BMI will DRAMATICALLY help your blood pressure! As we know losing weight is a lifestyle change. You have to change how you eat, what you eat, and what you do every day! For more information on weight loss, check out some of my articles here.

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2. SALT SALT SALT. By simply changing what you eat, you can literally change your life. Salt has been known to raise blood pressure in most individuals that are salt suceptible. By lowering the amount of salt you consume, and increasing the amount of fresh veggies and fruit you eat, you can lower your blood pressure by at least 2 to 8 mm of Hg pretty much guaranteed. Check out my article on the top foods loaded with Salt and try to avoid them. Try adding bigger servings of vegetables and fruit to whatever you are eating and lowering your consumption of processed, packaged foods.

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3. Eating Right. Tagging off #2, by eating more fruits and vegetables to your diet, consuming more whole grains, as well as low fat dairy products you can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm of Hg!!! That is incredible! The key thing is to make your veggie portions bigger and your saturated fat contents smaller. Add more broccoli to your dinner plate and less steak. You can still have the fun stuff, just eat a little less of it. As a personal goal to help myself, I try to eat 3 salads a week.For one of my favorite side salad recipes, click here!

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4. Exercise! Just 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day or even a few days a week can make a huge difference in your blood pressure and overall health. That may seem like a lot, but walking the dog, walking on your lunch work breaks, parking far away and many other simple activities can help increase your daily exercise routine. My advice is make it something you enjoy. Walk your kids to the bus stop. Walk your dog who needs some exercise too, heck, even walk with your kids, and make a habit out of talking about the day before starting dinner or homework. Make it happen!

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5. Alcohol. Interesting fact. Low amounts of alcohol such as one drink a day for all women, and men over the age of 65, or up to two drinks a day for men under 65 can lower the blood pressure by 2-4 mm of Hg according to the mayo clinic. When you start consuming more than that, like many of us do, you run into problems and you can increase your blood pressure as well as reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.

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6. Potassium. Potassium has an indirect relationship with sodium. On the cellular level, for every potassium that goes in, a sodium ion goes out of the cell. On a larger scale, such as our entire body, the more potassium rich foods you consume, the more it can help combat sodium and high blood pressure.

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7. Cut back on smoking and caffeine. Both of these vices have been known to cause higher blood pressure. Smoking can raise your blood pressure by 10 mm of Hg for an hour after you smoke, according to the mayo clinic. A pack a day can be continuous high blood pressure. As for caffeine, some people are susceptible to caffeine with their blood pressure, the more you drink, the more the risk. Try to stick to 1-2 cups of coffee a day or 1 small energy drink if you must.

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8. Stress. This one is the no brainer that we have all heard, but it is still just as important. If you are in a high stress job, or home environment, it can have a significant effect on your health. Try stress reducing techniques such as 10 minutes of yoga or exercise a day, or a few deep breathing techniques.

All in all, lowering your blood pressure is going to depend on you and how bad you want to change your health. Just trying a few of these simple steps can have a dramatic effect on your heath, and many of them go hand in hand such as eating right, exercising and losing weight. Give a few of these a try and you would be amazed at what you can do.

Keep up the good work,

~HealthyGirl

Manage Stress in College

Causes of Stress…

    With life in general, there are many causes of stress. Many causes have to do with family problems, deadlines, and social issues. It is important to take care of long term and short term stress right away because it can have a major effect on your health. The best way to combat stress period is to avoid it when possible. For example, if you know you are going to have a stressful semester at college, try taking fewer classes, or a fun class in between some hard ones. More prevention you do, the better it will help your stress levels. We cannot usually avoid all stressers. For these times, here are a few helpful tips.

Time Management

    Many of us already know it is important to manage your time. But how well do you do this? Do you plan out your days, weeks and months? Make sure you have a calendar on your computer, desk, phone, or any item that works for you. Make sure you know all the major events going on about a month in advance. Also keep track of smaller daily tasks, and know what is coming up about a week in advance. Be sure to have a general idea of how your day will go, and give yourself breaks and some downtime. The more knowledge you have about potential stressers, and the more time you have to prepare for them, the easier it will be to handle them.

Working Out

    Working out is a wondeful way to combat stress. Sometimes stress is a regular symptom you have to combat, other times it can show up as an occasional occurrence. In any case, working out at least three times a week will help your stress levels tremendously. You can also try yoga or pilates with videos or classes. Be sure to set time aside time three times a week, if possible. If weight is something you struggle with, this will be an added destresser as you work on self improvement. If you do not have time to work out, try going on small walks during your breaks between classes or at work. A quick walk daily can help combat stress as well.

Setting Aside Social Time

    Although it may not come to mind at first, spending time with people you care about is an important tool to help manage stress in college. Most people have friends or family they enjoy being around close by. Even if they are far away, try communicating with them through a web cam, or calling them. In any case, be sure to set aside time to spend with them. It is important to keep up with social aspects of your life. Often it helps vent to these people about your problems to blow off steam. In other cases you can forget about your troubles and have some quality time with people that matter most. Which method works better is up to you and how you feel.

~Healthy Girl

Top Ten Most Stressful Life Events

  Top 10 Most Stressful Occurrences for Americans:

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  1. Spouse Death  

  2. Divorce

  3. Marriage Separation

  4. Jail term

  5. Death of a loved one

  6. Injury or illness

  7. Marriage

  8. Job loss

  9. Pregnancy

  10. Retirement/Change of financial status

Studies show that stress comes from four main areas:

1. Environnment- Our physical surroundings such as an unsafe neighborhood

2. Relationships- With friends, family, and partners

3. Work- Job dissatisfaction, overworking, insufficient pay, conflicts with boss/coworkers

4. Social- Poverty, discrimination, harassment, unemployment, isolation

 

Some of the stress-related symptoms  described in my previous post can get worse or become chronic conditions if stress is repetitive or persistent. This is because the body continues to secrete stress hormones, and blood pressure remains at a higher level.

Effects the body might experience are:

 

  • Chronic headache

  • Exacerbation on allergies/asthma

  • Substance Abuse

  • Weight Loss/gain

  • Decreased sex drive

  • Irritable bowel syndrome exacerbation

  • Anxiety disorder

  • High blood pressure

  • Increased stroke risk

  • Increased heart attack risk

  • exacerbation of chronic diseases

To learn more about the effects stress has on your body, check out my other article:

 

Some Great Tips For Fighting Stress:

 

ID-1002539311. Get plenty of rest. Make a point to get the amount of sleep that makes you feel the most rested. If you have trouble getting to sleep, natural remedies such as Luna, a natural sleep aid with chamomile, valarian, and melatonin may be helpful. You can find it here.

LUNA – #1 Natural Sleep Aid on Amazon – Herbal, Non-Habit Forming Sleeping Pill (Made with Valerian, Chamomile, Passionflower, Lemon Balm, Melatonin & More!) – IntraNaturals Lifetime Guarantee

 

2. Get organized- Clutter can create an immense amount of stress for even the most calm hearted. I like this book by Marie Kondo called “The life changing magic of tidying Up”. It’s a book about Japanese style de cluttering.

3. Eat better. Healthier foods can reduce brain chemical imbalances. Try to get the recommended amounts of veggies in your diet, which is roughly 2 1/2 cups to 3 cups of vegetables a day. 

4. Get some exercise. It has been well documented that cardio and aerobic exercise both reduce stress. Yoga and Pilates have powerful benefits as well. You can also check out my article on weight training for women.

 

5. Take breaks. Getting your work done is important but at least a 15 minute break between 90 minute sessions can be very beneficial, and increase your efficiency. During these breaks do something completely different and relaxing to you. Facebook scroll, practice deep breathing, rest your eyes, do something you can easily pull of out of and not get too distracted with.

 

6. Talk. Make sure you have someone you can talk to about the stressers in your life. Whether it be a friend, spouse, or relative, make sure you have a go to person that you feel you can confide in and connect with. Allow each other to blow off steam in a casual setting. Then focus on the positives of the day/moment.

 

7. Some people have found Scott Summon’s program Primal Stress to be particularly helpful. It is a program that focuses on your body and exercise and stress relief techniques.

 

~HealthyGirl