10 Lifestyle Strategies to Reduce Blood Pressure

  1. Manage Stress: Stressors are inevitable but how we manage that stress is what’s important. Think about your own individual triggers for stress and think about what you can avoid. Practice saying “no” and avoiding overwhelming yourself with more to-dos. It’s important to know your limits and set boundaries in any area of your life. 
  2. Reduce high-sodium foods in your meals: Sodium can be a sneaky culprit in many foods. In general, a high-sodium diet is usually linked with processed foods. Try to cook from scratch as much as possible and use ingredients such as lemon juice, vinegar and fresh herbs to flavor food. Evolving research is showing that not everyone is “salt-sensitive” regarding blood pressure, but we can all benefit from eating more whole foods and fewer processed ones. 
  3. Eat beets: These root vegetables are easy to grow and source year-round at any grocery store. They are loaded with nitrates, fiber and potassium — all of which can help lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. See the recipe in this issue for a delicious pink beet hummus. 
  4. Drink hibiscus tea: The hibiscus plant contains flowers with high concentrations of antioxidants that are shown to remove free radicals in the body. This powerful tea may help reduce blood pressure and calm the nervous system. It’s also quite tasty and comforting. 
  5. Get moving: Regular physical activity is highly beneficial for reducing blood pressure. And any form of exercise works! It doesn’t truly matter if you prefer gym cardio or strength training, running or dancing … just move, and do it consistently. 
  6. Drink less alcohol, more water: Regular and excessive alcohol intake (more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women) can lead to elevated blood pressure. Too much alcohol can also hinder the effectiveness of certain blood pressure-lowering medications. So enjoy unsweetened beverages in a wine glass and keep the adult beverages to a minimum for the sake of your blood pressure. 
  7. Losing (just a little) weight: Blood pressure can improve with just 5% weight loss. That’s only 10 lbs for someone weighing 200 lbs. Weight loss is no easy feat, but we can help you with healthy strategies to lose and maintain weight with sustainable lifestyle habits. 
  8. Sleep: Consistently getting less than six hours sleep can contribute to elevated blood pressure. If you know you snore or wake up feeling unrested, ask for a sleep study. Our sleep patterns change throughout our lives, as do the factors influencing our getting a quality night’s rest. Address your own sleep hygiene by checking in with the quality of your mattress, temperature of your bedroom, compatibility of your pets/partners/children/technology/screens in the room and decide what needs to change to improve your sleep quality. 
  9. Laughter: Daily giggles and belly laughs are powerful tools to reduce stress, relax your nervous system and bring more overall happiness into your life. Laughter truly is the best medicine that in turn reduces blood pressure. When you’re feeling “blah,” turn on a favorite funny show, listen to stand-up comedy or phone your funniest friend. 
  10. Limit social and news media: It’s no secret that our phones can be distracting and initiate stress when we are scrolling social media or receiving constant negative and anxiety-provoking notifications from news media channels. Challenge yourself to a social media/news detox for a while and reflect on how you feel. Does your blood pressure change?
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