Did you know that at least 70% of people that are 65 and older have hypertension? High blood pressure is a common condition that increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems.
Not only does untreated high blood pressure increase your chances of developing long-term damage to your health, but many medications used to treat high blood pressure can also cause long-term effects such as poor circulation, depression, and even insomnia. Because it’s not always easy to know what might cause high blood pressure or how to manage it without medication, these guidelines can help you get started on the right track.
A few small changes to your diet and lifestyle can make a big difference in your long-term health. If you’re a senior in Florida, keep reading for tips on how to lower your blood pressure naturally.
What Is a Good Blood Pressure and What Things Effect It?
Stage one hypertension can start to range at 130/80 mmHg. Your blood pressure is measured by your systolic and diastolic pressures. In the simplest of terms, your systolic is the pressure on your blood vessels that is caused by your heart beating which pumps the blood throughout your arteries. Your diastolic is the pressure in your arteries whenever your heart is at rest between beats.
A normal diastolic pressure would be less than 80 while you would be considered to be in a hypertensive crisis if it’s higher than 120. Your systolic pressure would be considered normal if it’s less than 120 and you would be considered to be going through a hypertensive crisis if it’s 180 or higher. The ideal blood pressure is usually 120/80 mmHg.
Several factors can increase your blood pressure, including your age, diet, and even certain medical conditions or lifestyle factors such as obesity, level of activity, and the medications you take.
The Top Ways You Can Naturally Lower Your Blood Pressure
While turning to medication, especially for a long period may not be the most ideal option for lowering and maintaining your blood pressure, there are things you can do to lower it naturally. Let’s take a look at some of the top ways that we can do that.
Limit Your Caffeine Intake
The unfortunate truth is that there’s evidence that certain levels of caffeine intake may negatively affect blood pressure. Even if you don’t suffer from high blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic, you can still experience dramatic increases in your BP even though they may be brief increases. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, some energy drinks, some medications, and many foods.
Limit your caffeine intake to 400 milligrams or less per day. If you consume caffeinated beverages, try switching to decaf coffee or tea or drinking water instead. Keep in mind that you can always infuse your water with fruit and even vegetables to enhance the flavor of your water if you wanted to.
Healthy eating patterns are key to good nutrition and overall health. If you have hypertension, you should eat a healthy diet low in salt and saturated fat, high in fruits and vegetables, or any potassium-rich foods like bananas.
Quitting Smoking Is a Good Step
Did you know that your blood pressure and your heart rate will start to drop as quickly as 20 minutes after you stop smoking? Imagine the results you would see if you stopped smoking and never smoked again. The problem with smoking and how it disrupts our blood pressure so easily is that nicotine damages the inside of our blood vessels.
It essentially lowers the amount of oxygen our heart can take in. This is what causes your heart to beat more rapidly. This can also cause damaged blood vessels to experience strain and work even harder.
So, the science of it has found that finding ways to simply relax can increase the creation of a compound that helps to open our blood vessels more. That is what lowers our blood pressure. Meditating for at least 10 to 20 minutes or doing anything that calms you and allows you to relax can help to lower your blood pressure quickly and efficiently.
Reduce the Amount of Sodium in Your Diet
While you do need some sodium in your diet to function properly, too much can do a bit of damage. Keep in mind that most of the sodium we take in, comes in the form of salt and the issue is that many Americans consume too much sodium, which can damage your blood vessels or more specifically, the endothelial layer of our blood vessels. This increases your risk of high blood pressure. A healthy diet should include less sodium, while still providing enough potassium to help maintain a normal rhythm.
Aim to consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. If you’re unsure if your diet contains the right amount of sodium or if you’re on the right track with lowering your intake, consider doing a few things differently. You may be able to get salt or sodium-laden dishes at restaurants. Or, you could simply ask for “low sodium” menu options when you go out.
Salt is often added during the cooking of many foods so consider using less or no salt at all. You could even try using an alternative to flavor your dishes.
Get Consistent With Exercising
Regular exercise can lower your blood pressure by improving your blood flow and reducing your BP. It’s important to choose an activity that you enjoy so it will be easier to remain consistent. Try to aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Keep in mind that the more consistent you are, the easier it will be to incorporate exercise into your routine.
Foods Rich in Potassium Are Your Friend
Potassium is a mineral found in many fruits, vegetables, and milk products. It helps regulate your blood pressure by regulating the amount of sodium in your body and lowering BP. Daily, you should aim to take in around 4,700 to even 5,000 mg of potassium. Some foods rich in potassium include:
- Nuts and Seeds
Dark Chocolate Is a Must
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants that may help reduce blood pressure. The way this happens is by the nitric oxide that the chocolate creates. It allows the blood vessels to relax which in turn also lowers your blood pressure. You should try to consume at least one or two ounces of dark chocolate per day. That would be between 30 and 60 grams.
Dark chocolate contains high levels of flavanols and is high in minerals such as magnesium, which helps regulate blood pressure. Who would’ve thought that you could eat delicious candy to better maintain your blood pressure?
Cut Back on or Stop Eating Processed Foods
Processed foods are often high in sodium, and many contain preservatives, which can increase your risk of high blood pressure. Examples of some of these things could be ready-to-eat-dinners, packaged foods, and even certain cheeses. These foods should be consumed in moderation or should be eliminated from your diet. Try to have less of your calories per day coming from processed foods such as salty snacks, certain canned goods, processed meats, pastries, desserts, and soft drinks.
While this may seem like a lot, there are tons of organic options and food choices that could be used as alternatives but still taste just as good.
Try Drinking Lemon Water
There are certain minerals like potassium and calcium in drinks that contain lemon that could help with lowering blood pressure. Not only is the juice of the lemon rich in essential vitamins with the ability to reduce the risk of diseases, but the rind and even the pulp are great for boosting your immunity.
Aside from lowering your blood pressure, lemons also contain dietary fibers that help with digestion issues. Keep in mind that lemons have about 31 mg of vitamin C packed in them as well.
Time to Make Some Changes
If you have high blood pressure, you don’t want to leave it untreated. Consider making changes to your diet and lifestyle. If you are a senior living in Florida, you are in the perfect place to enjoy outdoor weather during exercise and have great choices for different healthy foods.
By following these tips, you can help lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health. Remember, even small changes can make a big difference.