According to the AHA (American Heart Association there are ) about 103 million Americans that have high blood pressure. And that itself brings them at risk for heart diseases, or even strokes.
There are a couple of easy ways to work on this condition yourself, it will take some courage and persistence, but it’s your health and you can do it! Even if it’s just as prevention, these tips and tricks will come in handy.
Disclaimer: It’s always in your best interest to see a physician if you are worried about your overall health. Following your doctor’s advice is always the best thing to do.
#1 Foods to Lower Your Blood Pressure
Reducing your blood pressure will actually have to start with the way you eat. What you’ve got to do first is look at your eating pattern and see if there are some foods that might cause your high blood pressure.
What you’ve got to try to avoid as hell is sodium, or salt. Salt retains water in the body and eating too many of it, might cause the kidneys to do more work than they can handle.
Foods that are high in sodium are processed foods and such. As they need to have a very long expiration date, they use a bit more salt than in your homemade food.
But you are here to know more about the foods that you can eat, not about the foods that you can’t. So let’s have a look.
A lot of green leafy vegetables are high in potassium, which counters the effects of your sodium intake. Potassium will support the kidneys in getting the sodium out of your blood through your urine. Just be careful not to eat too much, you don’t want to get low blood pressure.
Some well-known veggies that are high in potassium are spinach and kale. They are often used in smoothies and therefore also very easy to incorporate into your diet.
If you are more of a salad type of person, you can also use arugula. They have a nice nutty flavor, making it a great extra in your favorite salad.
Having your daily oatmeal isn’t just healthy for your blood pressure, but there are many more health benefits.
One of these benefits is that it can help to lower your cholesterol. And another one that it’s good for your digestion as it’s high in fiber.
And the best thing of all is that you can combine it with many goodies! So, eating oats isn’t that dull anymore as it used to be. You can combine it with fruits and seeds, or even pure cocoa to get that chocolate flavor.
Also a quick side note, dark chocolate is also good to lower your blood pressure, so you can easily add it into your oatmeals ;).
Seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds are high in potassium and a lot of other things to lower your blood pressure. That is if you don’t buy them roasted and salted of course. This kind of has the opposite effect :).
#2 Stop Smoking
This of course only counts for the smokers among us. It’s widely known that smoking can cause a lot of health issues and therefore you’ve got to be careful with this (nasty) habit.
At first, it’s all fun and you want to be cool, but after a couple of years, you’ll start to feel the consequences. And even if you don’t, they might at some point.
For your health globally, it’s just better to quit it anyway. And your wallet will be grateful as well, as many countries are putting more and more taxes on them.
#3 Stay Calm And Exercise
As a yoga blog, it’s hard not to write about yoga and meditation, and therefore we are glad to see that relaxation and exercise are actually very helpful with lowering your blood pressure.
It’s still quite unsure if high-stress levels actually contribute to high blood pressure. They do spike when you are in a period in your life when you are under a lot of stress. Scientists aren’t sure yet though if this can cause chronically high blood pressure.
What they do agree about is that stress managing can lower your blood pressure. So even though it might not be correlated with each other, you can help yourself by relaxing a bit more often.
Also, exercising has a positive effect on lowering blood pressure. Your stress levels will be lowered, but it’s also a great way to control your weight. The latter does have a big effect on your blood pressure.
Let’s have a look at some yoga exercises to treat your hypertension.
Asanas to lower your blood pressure
Yoga and helping you with your blood pressure can be looked at two-folded. If you are looking to relax more, great, yoga will clear the mind and make sure that stress will be eradicated from your life. Or at least lowered.
The second side of it is that your body will get some exercise as well. Of course, you do have to be aware that there are different types of yoga and one will be seen as more of a workout than the other.
It’s probably one of the best asanas there is for relaxation, and maybe the easiest one as well.
I’ve talked about it already in one of my other articles, so I won’t make this section too big. You can read more about childs pose in my article about asanas to cool down your body.
Just to give a small explanation: for this pose, you’ll be sitting on your knees on your mat. You can start from tabletop position if you’d like. Then you bring your feet together, big toes touching each other. Widen the knees a bit more than hip-width apart. Then bring your head towards the mat.
You can decide whether your arms are next to your body or in front of your body. It’s more about what feels more comfortable for you.
Seated Forward Bend
The next one is also a great one for the hammies. Your hamstrings will get a gentle stretch during this pose. Or a very hard one if they’re quite tight. But don’t worry, I’ll tell you a little secret to make sure that you won’t be in agony in this position.
For the seated forward bend, you sit down on your mat with your legs together in front of the body. To get the best stretch, you’ve got to flex your toes to keep your muscles engaged.
When you are positioned correctly, you bend forward on an exhale as far as you can. Well, or as far as it doesn’t hurt you. You always want to go to your limits at yoga, but not over them.
If you can’t touch your feet, that’s not a problem. If it does create a problem in your mind, make sure that you have a strap around to put it around your feet. then you can grab the strap and go even deeper into the position.
Come out of the position on an exhale.
As I mentioned before, this asana can put quite some stress on the hamstrings as well. Especially if they’re quite short, like with runners. There’s a little and very simple trick to make sure you can bend deeper into the pose without getting the pain.
You just have to bend your knees a little. Yups, that’s all there is to it!
Pranayama exercises to lower the blood pressure
I’ve mentioned them as well in my article about cooling down the body, but what I forgot to mention there is that the next breathing exercises are a tremendous help with lowering your blood pressure.
The ones I’ve discussed are Sheetali and Sheetkari. They are both a little bit different, but they both have the exact same effect. They cool the body down in a lot of ways.
If we look at it within the concept of yin and yang, we see that these two breathing techniques are leaning towards yin energy. Meaning that they will soften you and calm you down. While yang energy is more active and strong.
Within the world of energy we can see that a high blood pressure might be caused by having too much yang energy in our system. And this we can lower by doing more yin exercises. Which these breathing techniques are perfect for.
It must be said though that Sheetali and Sheetkari shouldn’t be practiced when you have low blood pressure or when you’re quite calm and relaxed already. Just to make sure you won’t stay in bed all day long.