How many ways to lower your blood pressure do you know? A recent study by the BHF found that most people can’t name a single way to affect their blood pressure, despite knowing that having a high blood pressure is a big risk factor for heart disease and stroke. There is a big focus on heart health right now, especially for women, and there is a lot of information on how to spot symptoms and work out your risk factors. These ways to lower your blood pressure will definitely help if you do find that yours is too high.
Yes, volunteering really is one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure. Research found that helping someone doesn’t just give you a warm fuzzy feeling on the outside, it actually benefits the heart, too. The research found that adults aged between 51 and 91 who volunteered for 200 hours a year had much 40 per cent lower risk of hypertension. Studies on younger demographics are ongoing, but there is no reason why the stats should change. Don’t be put off by the 200 hours, either – that’s just 3 hours a week.
2. Get a Dog
Your furry friend doesn’t just give you some company. Owning a pet has been proven to reduce stress levels, improve your mood and keep you exercising. All of these factors together lower blood pressure, and they’ll make you happy, too. Set out 20 minutes a day to play a game with your dog, and commit to taking him for a walk every day. If you want the benefits but can’t own a dog, try volunteering to walk a neighbor or friend's dog, or enquire at a local rescue. They often need help caring for the dogs.
3. Raid the Fridge
People who eat at least 6 ounces of low-fat yoghurt every day are 31% less likely to develop heart problems than those who eat yoghurt less frequently. It’s thought that the effect is due to yoghurt’s important minerals: calcium, potassium and magnesium, which all help to regulate blood flow. Eating 6oz of yoghurt a day isn’t too hard, either – try taking a yoghurt to work to enjoy at lunch or as an afternoon snack, or making desserts including yoghurt. Some chilled yoghurt with frozen berries is an easy and delicious treat.
4. Work out
We all know that exercise is good for us. The American Heart Association recently announced that doing moderate aerobic activity, such as a brisk walk or fitness class, will greatly impact on blood pressure. If you can fit in 30 minutes most days of the week, your heart will be in great condition, and you’ll be a lot happier, too. There’s no better way to release negative emotions and stress than working it out.
5. Brew up
People who drink three cups of black tea a day for six months lower their blood pressure. Yep, it’s as easy as that. Black tea is packed with flavonoids, which work as antioxidants that relax the blood vessels and lower your blood pressure. Consuming a good amount of black tea daily for half a year makes the effects permanent, making it a really easy way to improve your heart health.
6. Dance around
Listening to music that you love releases neurohormones which work to lower your stress levels, and boost your mood, as well as lowering your blood pressure. You can feel it working, too. Pick tunes that soothe you and make you feel calmer, and pay close attention to your body. You’ll notice that your breathing and heart rate slow down, and you’ll feel relaxed. Make listening to some soothing tunes part of your bedtime routine, or download a mindfullness app and enjoy the specially-chosen music in bite-size bits throughout the day.
7. Reduce Your Stress
This might be one of the hardest ways to lower your blood pressure, but it’s also one of the most effective. High blood pressure is often linked to stress. Typically, stress and anxiety only result in a temporary increase in blood pressure, but if you feel under continued stress, your blood pressure will stay high. Take some time to think about what stresses you out. It could be work, family, friends, finances, health…anything at all that you worry about. Then make a list of how you can eliminate or reduce those causes of stress. If you can’t reduce the stress, try managing it better instead. Reduce the amount of caffeine that you consume, take regular breaks for deep-breathing, and try meditation or yoga. If none of these self-help solutions are working, try booking a professional massage or counseling session.
These ways to lower your blood pressure are all natural, and they shouldn’t be too difficult to do. Make an active effort to include at least one into your life, and make it a habit. Even if your blood pressure is currently good, it’ll help you to keep your heart healthy and reduce the chances of you suffering from any heart problems. Do you know any great ways to reduce your blood pressure? Please share them with me!