These Easy, Healthy Habits Can Lower Your Blood Pressure in No Time

Having high blood pressure can be scary. Luckily, there are some great daily or weekly habits you can form to get those numbers where they should be. Talk to your doctor about a couple of these easy lifestyle changes that will help lower your blood pressure in no time.

Have a solid support group

Group of intercultural friends having Thanksgiving dinner

Friends are more important than you think. | Shironosov/Getty Images

The first step to tackling any health challenge — losing weight, fighting a disease, or even lowering your blood pressure — is getting support from those around you. Similar to how dieting with a friend can help you lose weight, if people around you know you’re taking steps to lower your blood pressure, they will be there to help. Let your partner, friends, children, etc. know that you’re concerned about your blood pressure and will be taking steps to lower it. This way, they will be aware and help you take steps to be healthier.

Next: Enough of this can lower your blood pressure significantly.

Take a daily walk

Young blond female runs along the beach

Get out for a walk or run. | iStock.com/warrengoldswain

Exercise is imperative for keeping blood pressure under control. The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Take a 30-minute walk to wake yourself up in the morning, Monday through Friday. If your blood pressure is slightly high, exercise can help you avoid hypertension. Cardio, such as walking or swimming, is better for lowering blood pressure than standstill exercises like weight training.

Next: Keeping track of this can help get you back on track. 

Keep a food diary

Healthy Lifestyle Diet

Keeping track of what you eat each day is a helpful trick. | iStock.com/Rawpixel Ltd

You need to know exactly what you’re eating. Sometimes, you think you’re eating healthy, but when you actually write it down and look at it, you slip up more often than you realize. Keeping a food diary will let you see when you’re eating too much and what you’re consuming. Sugary pastas and fatty meats can increase pressure on your heart. Use your food diary to roll out a new meal plan that will help put more good foods into your body.

Next: Start paying closer attention to this.

Check your food labels

Person Reading Nutrition Label on Packaged Food

Make sure you know what you’re putting in your body each day. | Ryan McVay/Getty Images

Food labels are the key to consuming healthier foods. Since fats, sugars, and sodium can take a toll on your heart, choose foods with low numbers. The American Heart Association says you should not consumer more than 13 grams of saturated fat per day. Saturated fats are found in foods like butter, cheese, and fatty beef. Sugary foods like white pastas and bread should be swapped for whole wheat options. Your sodium intake should be less than 2,300 milligrams per day.

Next: You’re probably consuming more than double the necessary amount of this.

Reduce your sodium intake

Your favorite snack may be loaded with sodium. | iStock.com

Sodium is the biggest contributor to high blood pressure because people often don’t think to look for it. Sodium pulls water into your blood vessels, creating more pressure on the heart. The AHA recommends no more than 1,500 milligrams per day. However, because the average American consumes so much salt (3,400 milligrams daily), the AHA says that even dropping the intake to 2,300 milligrams daily would be significantly healthier. Be sure to check the amount of sodium in your food before you buy it. Some examples of high sodium foods are canned soup, deli meat, breakfast cereal, and certain types of cheese. Fast food and fast casual restaurants are also overflowing with sodium.

Next: Rethink how much of this you consume. 

Don’t splurge at happy hour

That drink may hit you harder than you think.

Drink in moderation … always. | Bogdanhoda/Getty images

Cutting back on your alcohol intake is another great way to reduce blood pressure. Having more than three drinks at one time temporarily increases blood pressure. Drinking too much too often can have long-term effects on blood pressure. Unwinding with a glass of red wine at the end of a long work day is fine — it actually can be good for your heart. However, having four drinks with friends a few nights a week can create serious health problems down the road.

Next: Stop doing this immediately. 

Ditch the cigarettes

No smoking sign inside the room in the hotel

The time to quit is now. | iStock.com/Tatomm

The Nicotine in cigarettes creates a spike in blood pressure. It also raises your heart rate and narrows your arteries. Plus, over time, your artery walls harden, which makes your blood more likely to clot. The stress that all of these factors put on your heart ultimately increases blood pressure long term and increases your chances of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.

Next: This technique is a new breakthrough in improving your heart health.

Meditate

Woman meditating

This habit should be done daily. | iStock.com

Studies have found that meditation may decrease the risk of heart diseases such as stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure. However, more research needs to be done on the topic. Since meditation reduces stress levels, it may create an overall lower risk of heart disease. It’s important to take other actions to lower blood pressure in addition to meditation, plus always take any blood pressure medications as prescribed by a doctor.

Next: Always be sure to pay attention to the problem itself. 

Monitor your blood pressure

Doctor checking a young man's bloodpressure

Keeping an eye on your blood pressure should be something you do regularly. | iStock/Getty Images

If you notice your blood pressure is high and you decide to implement these daily lifestyle changes, it’s important to keep monitoring your blood pressure. This will tell you whether or not your new routine is having a strong enough effect on lowering your numbers. Sometimes, eating healthy and exercising are not enough, and medication is required.

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