Lowering Blood Pressure without Medication
If you are overweight or obese, one of the biggest lifestyle changes you can make to improve your blood pressure levels is losing weight. Weight loss surgery, coupled with a healthy diet and moderate activity level—such as going for short, daily walks—has been known to improve blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of serious health conditions resulting from hypertension, another word for high blood pressure.
After weight loss surgery, your doctor may prescribe you medication for hypertension depending on your blood pressure levels. However, there are certain habits and lifestyle changes that you can adopt to keep your blood pressure levels in check, or prevent them from getting to unhealthy levels. You don’t have to choose between making these changes and taking medications; in fact, implementing both healthy lifestyle habits and blood pressure medication may be the best way to treat your hypertension.
Eating Habits to Lower Blood Pressure
- Avoid salty foods. You can lower your blood pressure by reducing the amount of sodium in your diet to below 1,500 milligrams per day if you have hypertension. If you do not have hypertension, try to stick to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day.
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulants. Caffeine may block the hormone that normally keeps your arteries widened and flexible and cause your body to release more adrenaline, both of which can cause blood pressure to increase.
- Quit smoking. Smoking increases blood pressure, risk of blood clots and damage to arteries and blood vessels. Quitting will not only help to improve blood pressure, but will reduce your risk of many diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer, ulcers and gum disease.
- Exercise. You don’t need to do intense or high impact exercises to improve your blood pressure levels. Studies suggest that even thirty minutes of walking for three days a week is enough to start getting your blood pressure levels and health on track.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Too much stress can lead to physical problems, such as heart disease, chest pains and high blood pressure. By practicing relaxing stress management techniques, such as breathing exercises, yoga, meditation or listening to relaxing music, you can reduce the risk of stress increasing your blood pressure levels.