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Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a serious and seemingly ubiquitous problem, with nearly half of America’s population suffering from it. Many of us aren’t even aware we have hypertension until it’s a serious issue, and for this reason, it’s often called “the silent killer” by medicinal professionals.

Having high blood pressure can contribute to significant health concerns, including heart disease, strokes, sexual dysfunction, kidney failure, and angina. In other words, untreated, it can be a life-threatening problem (670,000 deaths in 2020 in the US had hypertension as the primary cause), so we should do what we can to keep our blood pressure in check.

The only solution is sometimes prescription medicine, and if that’s the case, well, that’s the case. However, for many of us, there are simple ways of lowering our blood pressure without dipping into the pharmacy every month. Plus, our overall well-being will benefit from these key ways of lowering our blood pressure without medicine.

1. Exercise Regularly

Source: Alila Medical Media/Youtube

One of the best ways to control escalating blood pressure is to exercise regularly. While taking leisurely walks is great and pumping iron exhilarating, what we need here is cardio. We need to sweat, get the heart thumping, and keep it going for a good half-hour. Do it five times a week. Appropriate exercises include brisk walking, jogging, serious hiking, cycling, swimming, and similarly aerobic workouts.

2. Avoid Processed Food

A healthy diet is always a positive thing. The same can be said with hypertension. In this case, a healthy diet is avoiding sodium (not just “salt”) and refined carbs/sugars are processed foods. A whole food diet with whole grains, plenty of vegetables, and real ingredients. Adding fresh or frozen berries regularly (and moderately) into the whole food mix is also a very good idea because they have valuable phytonutrients.

3. Drink Less Alcohol

A moderate amount of alcohol is not a huge issue, but drinking too much definitely raises blood pressure. No more than a couple of drinks a day is the ticket, perhaps limiting it to one a day for smaller adults. Binge drinking, four or five drinks within a couple of hours, increases your blood pressure significantly. For those with a history of high blood pressure, curbing alcohol use to an occasional thing is definitely helpful.

4. Get Potassium, Calcium & Magnesium

Potassium, calcium, and magnesium are beneficial minerals for controlling blood pressure. Potassium helps us get rid of excess sodium and eases pressure on blood vessel walls. Calcium helps blood vessels tense and relax at the right moments. Magnesium is necessary for reducing pressure in blood vessels. Good foods for getting these nutrients include dark, leafy greens and beans, which incidentally go wonderfully together.

5. Manage Stress

Source: Cleveland Clinic/Youtube

High stress levels and anxiety are awful for blood pressure. Just being nervous at the doctor’s office can cause the meters to show escalated blood pressure. So, we have to try to counter this stuff. Having some set times to slow down and catch our breath throughout the day is helpful. Lots of people get huge benefits from meditative tasks like doing yoga, growing a garden, or taking a leisurely walk. These can be important parts of our schedules just like work can be.

6. Quit Smoking

Smoking is horrible for us, and we know it by now. Health-wise, there are no redeeming qualities to smoking, and as with the respiratory system, it’s very hard on the cardiovascular system. It elevates our blood pressure and puts us at a much higher risk for heart attacks and strokes. If hypertension is an issue, now is definitely the time to give up smoking, even the social smoking many consider harmless.

7. Sleep Like It Matters

Sleep deprivation is high stress on our bodies and brains, so we have to sleep like it matters. It does! Those with less than six hours of sleep are more likely to have heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. But, we can make up for a lack of sleep with a lot of sleep, either. We need to get adequate rest, that’s seven to eight hours, every day. Again, schedule it into the plan so that it doesn’t get overlooked and become an issue.

Ultimately, these practices are all habits of generally healthy people anyway, so perhaps tweaking them and concentrating on reducing blood pressure can be effective for those already taking these important lifestyle measures.

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