Hypertension is the condition where you have chronically and abnormally high arterial blood pressure. One of the main culprits in hypertension is the lifestyle choices made by each of us. Unhealthy habits and food choices that we struggle to get rid of. However there is no shortcut to healthy living.
Here are our eight tips that should put you on the road to healthy living.
1. Cut back on Salt:
Start off by limiting common salt in your diet strictly. Eat only home cooked food and ensure no salt is added into the food while preparing it or consuming it. You can use a salt substitute like rock salt, if absolutely necessary. Cut out all processed food like bread, biscuits, canned or microwave meals and fizzy, sugary drinks.
2. Cut back on Alcohol:
Alcohol can have varying effects on blood pressure. In small amounts, it can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg but consuming more than the moderate amounts can raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
3. Quit Smoking:
Smoking must be completely eliminated because every single cigarette can increase one’s blood pressure. Kicking the habit is known to increase life expectancy irrespective of their blood pressure levels and that is a valid enough reason.
4. Cut back on caffeine:
While its role in high blood pressure is still debated by many; reports have suggested that excessive caffeine could raise blood pressure by as much as 10 mm Hg. So limit your intake to not more than one cup of coffee a day, which must be taken at least three hours prior to sleep.
5. Drink Lemon water:
A glass of warm water with lime juice, a spoonful of grated ginger and some honey each morning on an empty stomach is recommended. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that neutralizes the effects of any free radicals. Lemons also keeps blood vessels soft and by removing any rigidity, high blood pressure will be reduced.
6. Eat healthy:
Include leafy and / or raw vegetables and fruits, whole grains and lean proteins into the daily menu. Have food at least two hours before sleep and drink half a glass of warm milk, with little turmeric added if possible before sleep. This relaxes your digestive system and helps you get a good sleep.
Foods like Nuts and seeds, garlic, bananas, celery and coconut water all help control high blood pressure and keep the body hydrated.
Get active. 30-minutes of physical activity daily can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Start with a daily 30-minute walk which will help the heart use oxygen more efficiently, so it doesn’t work as hard to pump blood. Physical activities like swimming, cycling or any active sports like tennis, badminton, racket ball are all recommended. It is important to be consistent with your exercise routine.
Yoga is another effective method with its calming restorative asanas like Savasana (Corpse pose) and focused breathing for 10 minutes which reduces stress naturally. Stretching poses like Baddhakonasana (Cobbler Pose), Virasana (Hero Pose), and Upavista Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend) are recommended for beginners and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) or Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) can be tried after a few weeks of yoga practice.
8. Reduce stress:
Stress is a key contributor to high blood pressure. Most people react to stress by eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol or smoking, doubling your risk to high blood pressure. One must learn to cope with stress in a healthier way by accepting support from family and friends, understanding their stress triggers and making