It is estimated that 103 million adults in the United States have high blood pressure. About one-fifth of those people are not aware they have high blood pressure. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, may cause serious issues, such as kidney disease, stroke, heart attack, and death. The risks for those issues increase the longer your blood pressure is not controlled.
There are many risk factors for developing high blood pressure. If you keep an eye on your health, check your blood pressure regularly with a digital blood pressure monitor, and talk to your doctor about health concerns, then you can help reduce the risk of developing hypertension later in life.
High Blood Pressure Facts
Do you know what exactly blood pressure is? It is the force of blood against your blood vessel walls as your heart distributes blood throughout your body. If you have high blood pressure, your heart needs to work harder to distribute blood throughout your body.
There are two numbers when you take your blood pressure: systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure when your heart beats and diastolic is when your heart is resting. Normal systolic is between 90 and 120. Normal diastolic is between 60 and 80. If you are starting to see your numbers go up on the portable blood pressure monitor, let your doctor know and take steps to change your diet and lifestyle.
Risks of Developing High Blood Pressure
There are some factors that put people at higher risk of developing hypertension. These include:
- People who regularly experience high levels of stress
- People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol
- A diet in high salty or fatty foods
- People who do not exercise
- People who are overweight or obese
- A family history of high blood pressure
- People over 35
Lower Your Blood Pressure
If you notice your numbers going up on your digital blood pressure monitor, there are a few things you can do to lower your blood pressure at home. The first thing is to recognize and lower your salt intake. Do you eat a lot of salty foods or processed foods? Try to eat more whole foods and watch your sodium intake.
If you don’t already, start exercising regularly. Even going for a short walk once a day is helpful. The goal is to exercise for 30 minutes a day for five days a week.
Watch your waistline. Studies show people who are overweight and obese are at higher risk for hypertension. Try to maintain a healthy weight and eat healthy foods.
Manage the stress and anxiety in your life. If you don’t know how to do this or are unsure your coping techniques are working, talk to a therapist.
If you are trying different strategies to lower your blood pressure, make sure to keep track of your numbers with a digital blood pressure monitor.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can use foods to help lower your blood pressure.
Foods to Lower Your Blood Pressure
One of the best foods to lower your blood pressure is vegetables. Beet juice is one that reduces blood pressure in the short term and long term. In a 2015 study, people who drank one cup of beet juice every day for four weeks lowered their blood pressure by eight points.
Leafy green vegetables are a good source of nitrates, which help manage blood pressure. Try eating one to two servings of nitrate-rich vegetables every day to reduce your blood pressure. Some examples of leafy green vegetables include:
- Swiss chard
- Mustard greens
- Collard Greens
Fruits are another good way to lower your blood pressure. Bananas contain potassium, which helps control hypertension. Other foods that are high in potassium include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Honeydew melon
Watermelon is another fruit that may help lower blood pressure. It has citrulline, which is an amino acid to manage high blood pressure. Citrulline helps produce nitric oxide in your body, which relaxes your blood vessels. Overall, this can help blood flow and lower blood pressure.
A study from 2012 showed that people who drank one cup of pomegranate juice for 28 days had lower blood pressure. Pomegranate juice is high in antioxidants, which can account for the lower blood pressure. If you decide to purchase the juice from the store, make sure there is no added sugar.
Certain spices may help lower blood pressure as well. Cinnamon may help lower your blood pressure in the short-term. Three studies showed cinnamon decreased systolic blood pressure by an average of five points and diastolic blood pressure by an average of two points.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic and its main ingredient is allicin, which has health benefits. Garlic increases the body’s production of nitric oxide, which helps dilate blood vessels and relax your smooth muscles. These changes allow blood to flow easier and reduce hypertension.
Have you tried fermented foods? Fermented foods have lots of probiotics, which maintain gut health. Eating probiotics regularly can have a positive effect on high blood pressure. Other fermented foods that may help your high blood pressure include:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Natural yogurt
Lower Your Blood Pressure
There are a few different ways to lower your blood pressure, which include maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, exercising regularly, and eating foods to lower your blood pressure. Be sure to carry your portable blood pressure monitor with you and regularly check your numbers. Talk to your doctor about the various ways to manage your hypertension and ask about medication if necessary.