If you have been told you have high blood pressure or Hypertension you may be concerned about taking medication long term. There are several strategies you can take to help get your numbers down which may help you avoid or reduce the need for medication.
Many of the strategies involve lifestyle and diet factors which you can do yourself but a Naturopath can also help you with herbal and nutritional therapy to assist further if needed.
7 Tips to Help Reduce High Blood Pressure
1. Check your weight. Blood pressure can increase as your weight does, and getting your weight into a range suitable for your height can be effective in getting your blood pressure normalised. Carrying additional weight around your middle can also put you at greater risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease so employ healthy eating with exercise to assist you in reducing your weight if needed.
2. Exercise regardless of your weight. Exercise can help prevent elevations in blood pressure as we age, but can also be a great way to decrease elevated blood pressure. Aim for the exercise to be regular and enjoyable. Try for 30 minutes daily even if you start off walking until you increase your fitness. Ideally, a combination of aerobic and strength exercises across the week will help your weight control and help to reduce high blood pressure.
3. Look at your diet. What you want to aim for is a diet high in fresh food and low in processed food. Fresh food includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, good quality oils such as cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Avoid fried and fatty foods, anything high in salt and low in fibre. Start looking at the labels on your food if you are consuming packaged foods – you’d be surprised how much salt can be in these foods, and this can cause blood pressure to elevate.
4. Address lifestyle factors that can increase blood pressure like alcohol and smoking, and excessive intake of caffeine. Some research has shown that a small amount of alcohol can potentially reduce your blood pressure, however, the protective effect can be lost if too much alcohol is consumed. One drink daily for women and two for men would be maximum. Smoking increases blood pressure for some time after each cigarette and increases your risk of heart disease overall. Some people are also sensitive to caffeine and experience increases in blood pressure after consuming it.
5. Check your stress. Along with diet and exercise, stress is one of the major factors to consider in managing your blood pressure. Identify where your stress comes from – look at areas work, financial pressures, illness or family concerns. Once you do this you can implement strategies to help manage your stress.
6. Hook into your support system. Allow family and friends to help support you in making changes to your diet, exercise program or lifestyle. Ask them for encouragement and assistance in helping you to reach your goals. Try embarking on some of the changes with a friend, family member or colleague to help support one another, keep you accountable and make it enjoyable.
7. Seek Professional Help. A Naturopath can help to look at these areas of your life and help you to plan strategies to improve not just your blood pressure but your overall health too. Naturopaths can also use a variety of herbs and nutrients to help to naturally support the cardiovascular and nervous system to help you reach your goal.