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5 healthy habits to lower blood pressure without medication

5 healthy habits to lower blood pressure without medication How to lower blood pressure without medication (photo: Freepik)

Hypertension is one of the primary causes of strokes. High blood pressure can be reduced not only with medication but also through beneficial everyday habits that provide long-term effects. Health Line explains which habits should be incorporated into daily life to lower blood pressure.

Exercise regularly

Studies show that both aerobic and strength exercises can help control blood pressure. It has been proven that after exercise, blood pressure can remain lower for up to 24 hours.

Regular physical activity stimulates an increased heart rate and breathing. Over time, the heart becomes stronger and works with less effort. This reduces the pressure on the arteries and lowers hypertension.

Doctors recommend performing moderate-intensity exercises for at least 2.5 hours per week or about 30 minutes a day, five days a week. For children and teenagers, an hour of exercise daily is recommended.

To increase activity, doctors advise:

  • taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • walking more and using public transport less
  • engaging in household chores and gardening
  • riding a bicycle
  • playing team sports

Control your weight

Excess body weight puts stress on the heart and cardiovascular system, which can increase blood pressure.

If your body mass index (BMI) is 25 or higher, losing 2.5 - 4.5 kg can help lower your blood pressure. This can also reduce the risk of other health problems.

The three main ways to do this are:

  • moving more
  • eating less
  • eating healthily

Reduce sugar and refined carbohydrate intake

Limiting sugar and refined carbohydrates can help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure.

A 2020 study compared how various popular diets affect people’s weight and cardiovascular disease risk. Among overweight or obese individuals who followed a low-carbohydrate, low-fat diet, their diastolic blood pressure decreased by an average of about 5 mm Hg, and their systolic blood pressure by 3 mm Hg after six months.

Eat more potassium and less salt

Increasing potassium intake and reducing salt can help lower blood pressure.

High salt intake can increase the risk of high blood pressure, while reducing salt intake lowers it. Experts aren’t entirely sure why this happens, but water retention and inflammation in blood vessels may contribute to it.

Potassium helps the body excrete salt and relieves tension in blood vessels.

Foods high in potassium include:

  • dried fruits
  • milk and yogurt
  • lentils and beans
  • vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, and spinach

However, high potassium intake can be harmful for people with kidney disease, so consult your doctor before increasing potassium intake.

To control salt intake, read product labels; 5% sodium is considered low, 20% is high.

Follow a heart-healthy diet

The National Institutes of Health recommends the DASH diet to reduce hypertension symptoms.

The DASH diet includes:

  • eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • consuming low-fat or fat-free dairy products
  • eating fish, poultry, legumes, nuts, and vegetable oils
  • limiting foods high in saturated fats and added sugars

Earlier, we wrote about 9 products with such high cholesterol content that it's better to avoid them.

Also, read about which products provoke migraines.

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be used for medical diagnosis or self-treatment. Our goal is to provide readers with accurate information about symptoms, causes, and methods of detecting diseases. RBС-Ukraine is not responsible for any diagnoses that readers may make based on materials from the resource. We do not recommend self-treatment and advise consulting a doctor in case of any health concerns.