In the UK and USA around a third of adults have high blood pressure, although many may not know it.
Often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ with few symptoms but potentially severe consequences the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked.
Whilst everyone’s blood pressure is different, as a rule of thumb any readings over 140/90 or 150/90 for those over 80, are considered high.
High blood pressure can have many consequences including increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes, but it can also damage the body in more subtle ways. For example, limiting blood supply to the brain which can cause cognitive impairment, kidney damage, eye damage, sexual dysfunction and more.
The good news is that whilst a high blood pressure reading is not what you may want to hear, lifestyle changes can significantly lower the numbers and help lower your risk without medication. Here are our top tips to reduce blood pressure naturally.
If you are carrying some extra pounds, try and lose them. Losing about 5% of your body weight can help reduce blood pressure according to a 2016 study
Losing weight helps the blood vessels do a better job of expanding and contracting.
A recent study showed that just a 1kg loss of body weight was associated with an approximate 1mm Hg drop in blood pressure. Losing weight can be a challenge but here are some handy tips to try:
- Set yourself weekly weight goals.
- Stick to a healthy balanced diet including a wide range of fruits and vegetables to ensure you receive the nutrition you need and help you feel full.
- Make small changes, i.e. cut out sugar in your tea or one less biscuit, it all makes a difference.
- Include wheatgrass juice into your diet - this powerhouse of superfood juices will provide all the nutrients you need, keep you full for longer and give you that extra boost of energy to get you through the day.
The more you exercise the stronger your heart gets. This in turn puts less pressure on your arteries and helps keep your blood pressure under control.
Research has shown that blood pressure reduces immediately after exercise and that it's even more effective in people who are not medicated.
If embarking on a new routine seems a little daunting there are some simple steps you can take that could make a huge difference:
- Walk more, if this means walking to the shop instead of driving or parking further away in the car park, everything helps!
- Split your exercise into sessions, if a 40-minute workout isn’t possible try doing ten minutes sessions several times a day.
- Walk up the stairs instead of reaching for the biscuit tin, and when the munchies strike try doing a quick burst of exercise instead.
- Join a group activity, exercise is much more fun with friends so try local tennis, walking or a swimming group.
Reduce salt and add potassium
Over time, excessive salt in your diet can lead to high blood pressure. Blood and oxygen flow to key organs decreases and the heart tries harder to pump blood throughout the body, which further increases blood pressure.
A build-up of salt over time in your body can make it difficult to excrete fluids and this build-up can also put strains on your blood vessels increasing blood pressure.
Potassium can lessen the effect of salt in your system and also relax the tension in your blood vessels. Making a few changes can make a big difference:
- Cut back in processed foods, they often contain hidden salt and sugar.
- Add spinach, leafy greens, broccoli, courgette and cucumbers to your diet.
- Fill up with fruit and vegetables rather than snacks.
- Adding an organic superfood juice to your diet can help keep you full for longer whilst providing all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs
When you sleep your body and mind recuperates and generally your blood pressure is lower than when you are awake. Your blood pressure can be up to 20% lower when you sleep which gives your body a rest.
If you aren't sleeping well or enough your body doesn’t have this recuperation time and your blood pressure doesn’t have the chance to drop.
Several studies have looked at the significance of sleep on blood pressure and a correlation between high blood pressure and lack of sleep is beginning to emerge. Ensuring you have a solid sleep routine is essential for good health. You could try:
- Block light from your room including blue light from electronic devices.
- Try to have a consistent bed and waking time.
- Don’t eat late in the evening.
- Avoid evening caffeine.
- Have a relaxing bath or shower before bed.
In the modern world, there is little time for relaxation which can cause us to get stressed and agitated. This in turn can cause our blood vessels to contract and increase our blood pressure.
Although this may be a temporary spike, taking some time to calm down is never a bad idea. A few useful methods to try include:
- Relaxation techniques such as meditation or tai chi. Studies have shown that tai chi can significantly reduce blood pressure.
- Listen to calming music.
- Play with a pet - research has shown that petting a dog for 15 Minutes can lower your blood pressure by 10%!
- Work less, studies have shown that by working more than 40 hours per week you increase your risk of hypertension by 15%.
The above are our suggestions but it's important to find what works for you. The crucial element is to take the first step and begin to enjoy the results.
Adding a superfood juice to your diet not only gives you a nutritional boost but can help you to feel full for longer which in turn can aid weight loss. The additional energy boost can also give you that little extra to get through the day.