Easy, Everyday Things You Can Do To Lower High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a serious condition that affects around one in every three adults in the U.S. And you probably know that it also increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Considering heart disease is the leading cause of death in the states, it’s vital to keep yourself as healthy as possible to keep your ticker going for years to come.

As for how to treat high blood pressure, you know that medication is typically an option presented by doctors. But there are other small, simple changes you can make that can greatly influence your blood pressure. Here’s what you should do.

1. Get up and walk around every hour

Two women walking

Two women walking | Yobro10/iStock/GettyImages

Not everyone has an hour to spend exercising per day — but when you break down your day, you probably have 10 minutes here and there you can spare. While you’re sitting at your desk at work or watching TV in your downtime, make sure you’re getting up every hour or so to walk around your house or office for a few minutes. It’s well known that regular physical activity can help keep your blood pressure in check. And though this seems small, it can really add up by the end of the day.

Want an even bigger boost? Do 10 jumping jacks every hour, or another heart-pumping equivalent instead of just walking.

2. Choose a banana as a snack

Processed foods are tempting, but when it comes to your blood pressure, more potassium is what you’re after. For this reason, having a banana on hand can be a great, healthful snack that both satisfies and helps your body.

Hate bananas? Everyday Health explains other foods like dried apricots, pomegranates, Brussels sprouts, beets, and acorn squash are also all rich in potassium.

3. Cut the salt

Sodium

Sodium | topthailand/Getty Images

You know sodium can be seriously detrimental to your blood pressure, so you should keep in mind the high-sodium foods you’re eating each day. If you’re eating a lot of packaged goods or seasonings, check to see what the salt content is. And go for low-sodium or salt-free seasonings when possible. You can still add a pinch of salt in your food when you’re using them — but this way, you can control exactly how much you’re taking in.

Keep salt on the brain when you’re eating out, too. Request sauces on the side so you can control how much you’re using on your food, as the sauces are a common culprit for sodium overload.

4. Limit your morning coffee intake

Does coffee really raise blood pressure? Mayo Clinic explains it’s debatable, but some research suggests those who rarely consume it may see a boost in blood pressure if they have it. For those who are regular caffeine consumers, however, they may not see a boost in blood pressure at all.

This is a good one to ask your doctor about. In some cases, it may be worth it to cut that extra cup of coffee out of your morning ritual — and this is particularly true for those who have just begun adding the beverage into their diets.

5. Take 10 minutes to meditate every day

woman meditating on the beach

Peaceful meditation | Kieferpix/iStock/Getty Images

Feeling stressed? It’s in your best interest to lower your stress levels the best you can, as this can lead to blood pressure issues, Mayo Clinic says. Even if you’re only occasionally stressed, these bouts may also contribute to high blood pressure over time. And if you react to your anxieties by engaging in unhealthy habits, that’s also bad news.

Getting rid of all stressors in your life surely isn’t possible, but you should consider meditation or yoga to help. Just 10 minutes of self-guided meditation per day can help clear your head and help you take on whatever challenges lie ahead. Regular exercise has also been shown to help.

6. Drink one less alcoholic beverage a week

Happy hour is fun, but if you’re drinking alcohol more than a few times per week, this can greatly hurt your blood pressure (and entire body, for that matter). And if you’re on blood pressure medication, Mayo Clinic notes alcohol can also affect how well the prescription works.

If alcohol is a huge part of your life, start small by reducing the number of drinks you consume each week by just one. Over time, you may find it easier to reduce the amount even more.

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