Known as the “silent killer” because there are no symptoms, high blood pressure is a cause for concern when it comes to your health. Millions of Americans have high blood pressure and don’t realize it, so it’s essential to have your blood pressure checked regularly, as Dr. Rogers Walker and the team at Walker Family Care recommend for all their patients.
In Little River, South Carolina and the greater Myrtle Beach area, patients of all ages rely on Dr. Walker’s expertise for managing high blood pressure and other chronic health conditions. Often through lifestyle changes, you can successfully lower your blood pressure as naturally as possible. Dr. Walker shares five tips to lower your blood pressure so you can take control of this potentially life-threatening disease.
Fruits, vegetables, foods that are rich in whole grains, and anything that isn’t highly processed and pre-packaged for convenience are best. Low-fat dairy products can also help lower your blood pressure.
Additionally, if you follow a Mediterranean-style diet that includes foods rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids (like olive oil, wild-caught salmon, and flax seeds), you may be able to lower blood pressure naturally. Mediterranean diets also promote eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, which is good for heart health and overall wellness.
Also, when making dietary changes, keep in mind that when you consume too much sodium (salt) it raises your blood pressure, so it’s best to avoid high-sodium foods. Read the labels—especially on processed foods that use sodium as a preservative—and avoid adding salt to your meals. Use spices and herbs, like pepper and oregano, to add flavor instead.
Love dark chocolate and garlic? When it comes to lowering your blood pressure, they’re good for you, too.
While a glass of wine or an occasional beer (one per day for women; two per day for men) can potentially lower your blood pressure, moderate to excessive amounts of alcohol may have the opposite effect. If you drink more than the maximum quantity on a regular basis, it could be contributing to high blood pressure. Consider cutting back for the most health benefits.
Potassium-rich fruits and vegetables are ideal for lowering your blood pressure naturally. Think one banana a day is enough? Think again. Foods like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, kidney beans, and melons are also high in potassium, and when you’re trying to lower your blood pressure, you need to incorporate them into every meal. Other potassium-rich foods include dried fruits, peas, and orange juice.
There are so many reasons why smoking is bad for your health, but perhaps you didn’t realize that each time you smoke a cigarette, your blood pressure increases and stays increased for several minutes after you stop.
When you quit smoking, you help your blood pressure return to its normal level, reduce your risk of heart disease, and improve your overall health and wellness. Even if you’ve been a smoker for several years, you may still live longer if you quit now than if you continue to smoke.
Lowering stress levels can go a long way in lowering your blood pressure. Both occasional stress and chronic stress may contribute to high blood pressure, especially if you consume more alcohol, smoke more, and eat unhealthy foods when you’re feeling stressed.
Even if you can’t eliminate all the stress in your life, it’s important to take steps to manage it effectively so it doesn’t adversely affect your physical health.
Make time to relax each day or participate in activities you enjoy. Sometimes, taking a long walk, breathing deeply for 10 minutes in the middle of your day, or expressing gratitude toward others is all you need to change your frame of mind from one of high-stress to low-stress.
When you practice exercises that help relieve stress each day, whether they’re physical exercises or mental exercises, you’ll notice the mental, emotional, and physical benefits over time.
Ultimately, you may be able to make significant changes to your blood pressure when you take little steps each day to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Even if you need to take medication to lower your blood pressure initially, lifestyle changes are an effective way to manage it long term.
For more information about lowering your blood pressure, or if it’s been a while since you’ve had it checked, call our office in Little River, South Carolina, or schedule an appointment online.