Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the key controllable risk factors of chronic health problems such as heart disease and stroke. According to the National Family Health Survey in 2017, one in eight Indians suffer from hypertension which translates to 207 million people (men 112 million, women 95 million-those with high blood pressure (more than 140/90 mmHg).
Here are 10 simple tips that can make a big difference in your blood pressure numbers.
- Exercise and walks: Hypertensive patients who went for walks at a brisk pace lowered their blood pressure by almost 8 mmHg over 6 mmHg. Exercise helps the heart use oxygen more efficiently, so it doesn’t work as hard to pump blood. At least 30 minutes a day, 5 or more days a week exercise is good.
- Yoga: Yoga and meditative practices decrease the stress which leads to lower the enzyme concentration that raises blood pressure.
- Potassium rich food: Bananas, Potatoes, Sweet potatoes, tomatoes, orange juice, kidney beans, peas etc. are the good source of potassium. Potassium encourages the kidneys to excrete more sodium through urination, and that sodium excretion can help lower blood pressure.
- Use Herbs: Garlic, Ajwain (Carum copticum), Linseed, Flaxseed, Murungai, Basil, Maritime Pine etc. have been scientifically studied and reported to have hypotensive or antihypertensive effects.
- Indulge in dark chocolate: Dark chocolate varieties contain flavanols that make blood vessels more elastic and assist blood flow. In one study, 18 percent of patients who ate dark chocolate every day saw blood pressure decrease.
- Cut your sodium intake: Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can improve your heart health and reduce blood pressure by about 5 to 6 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure. The effect of sodium intake on blood pressure varies among groups of people. In general, limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less. However, a lower sodium intake — 1,500 mg a day or less — is ideal for most adults.
- Quit smoking: Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish.
- Cut back on caffeine: The role caffeine plays in blood pressure is still debated. Caffeine can raise blood pressure up to 10 mm Hg in people who rarely consume it. But people who drink coffee regularly may experience little or no effect on their blood pressure.
- Use calcium-rich foods: People with low calcium intake often have high blood pressure. While calcium supplements haven’t been conclusively shown to lower blood pressure, calcium-rich diets do seem linked to healthy levels
- Lose weight: By far the most effective means of reducing elevated blood pressure is to lose weight. And it doesn't require major weight loss to make a difference. Even losing as little as 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure.
References: Gupta R, Gaur K, S Ram CV. Emerging trends in hypertension epidemiology in India. J Hum Hypertens. 2018 Sep 25. menshealthTabassum et al., Pharmacogn Rev. 2011 Jan-Jun; 5(9): 30–40.doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.79097. mayoclinic. health.harvard.edu. medicalnewstoday