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According to medical studies from researchers at Harvard and other notable medical organizations, high blood pressure plays a considerable role in roughly 15% of all deaths in the U.S. High blood pressure is associated with heart disease, stroke, cognitive decline, development of aneurysms, and even organ failure. Nearly 30% of Americans have high blood pressure but don’t even know it. Fortunately, there are things can do to lower your blood pressure naturally. After checking your blood pressure and consulting with your doctor, you might want to adopt these strategies for decreasing your blood pressure and, in turn, reducing your risk for serious health problems.

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Exercise Regularly

The American Heart Association encourages people to engage in moderate-to-vigorous exercise as a way to protect their heart and reduce blood pressure. Carefully assess your fitness level. While you might not be open to training for a marathon, there are steps you can take to improve your level of fitness. Take a walk every single day. Use the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Sign up for a low-impact aerobics class. Studies have demonstrated that even short bouts of exercise can reduce blood pressure. If you can exercise for 30 minutes each day, you can enhance your heart health and protect your overall well-being.

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Diet to Lose Weight

A person who is overweight can reduce their blood pressure by shedding pounds. Exercise isn’t the only way to lose weight. If you can diet to lose five to ten pounds, you have a good chance of reducing blood pressure and reducing your risk for other health conditions. There are many weight loss diets, but it’s important to choose one that promotes healthy food consumption. Eating grapefruit might help you lose a few pounds, but this type of diet isn’t generally sustainable. The key is to adopt a healthy diet that you can adhere to long term.

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Reduce Salt Consumption

The National Institutes of Health recommend cutting down on salt to reduce blood pressure. Too much salt can lead to a blood pressure increase. According to dieticians, holding back on the salt shaker isn’t enough, though it is one place to start. Examine the foods you eat. Many processed foods are high in sodium so you might be getting salt from sources without even knowing. From canned soups to frozen meals, many commonly purchased items at the grocery store are loaded with salt. You can reduce your blood pressure by taking steps to avoid this excess salt.

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Pump up the Potassium

It’s always a happy day when someone tells you to eat more potatoes! Of course, you’ll need to watch the butter, sour cream, and other toppings we put on our spuds, but by eating more foods that are high in potassium, you can cut down your blood pressure. Other foods that are rich in potassium include sweet potatoes, peas, bananas, watermelon, black beans, butternut squash, and plain yogurt.

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Reduce Stress

Elevated stress levels can have a terrible effect on your blood pressure. In fact, your stress levels could be causing your blood pressure to spike. Many of us have high-stress jobs that make stress reduction difficult, but certainly not impossible. You’ll need to investigate methods for stress reduction that appeal to you. Some people have great success managing their stress with yoga. Others find that reading, walking or jogging, knitting, fishing, or crafting can soothe their stress to ultimately decrease blood pressure.

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Stop Smoking

Smoking is associated with a whole range of health conditions and diseases, so you can do more than lower your blood pressure by kicking your smoking habit. The chemicals in cigarettes can damage your blood vessels and cause your arteries to harden over time. Hardened arteries lead to higher blood pressure. The sooner you stop smoking, the sooner you can reduce your risk for high blood pressure and the sooner your body can begin to heal from the damaging effects that smoking has caused.

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Lower Your Alcohol Intake

Too much alcohol could be causing your blood pressure to increase. Even if you are perfectly healthy, alcohol can cause a blood pressure increase. Some studies suggest that a half a drink a day such as a glass of wine can actually lower blood pressure, but the reverse is true when your consumption rises. If you are going to drink, studies suggest that you keep to about a drink a day in order to enhance your heart health.

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Enjoy a Cuppa Tea

Tea is soothing and oh-so-comforting, but drinking it can even reduce your blood pressure. Some studies suggest that drinking a half cup of green tea each day can lower your blood pressure significantly. Some herbal teas, particularly those that contain hibiscus, have also been associated with reduced blood pressure rates. Keep in mind that caffeine can actually cause blood pressure to increase, so it’s best to stick to tea that is decaf. Green tea is associated with numerous health benefits, so if you can find ways to incorporate more of this delicious beverage, served hot or cold, into your diet, the better off you may be.

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Eat More Garlic

Garlic is a super food that offers a surprising array of health benefits included the power to reduce blood pressure. A single clove of garlic contains numerous sulfur compounds, vitamins, and minerals. In terms of nutrients, garlic is a powerhouse of natural chemicals that support heart health. Research shows that garlic can lower blood pressure by limiting platelet aggregation and can even help to prevent blood clots. There are many ways to add more garlic to your diet. Add it to your soups, stews, sauces, and more to obtain is many health benefits.

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Add Dark Chocolate to Your Diet

Although bitter, dark chocolate is a delicious treat that many are surprised to learn offers various health benefits. Studies have shown that dark chocolate (with 60-70% cacao) can help reduce blood pressure according to studies out of Harvard. Scientists attribute this to the flavonoids contained in the dark chocolate, plant compounds that can certainly enhance your heart health. Keep your consumption of dark chocolate to no more than a square a couple of times a week. You can grate dark chocolate into your plain yogurt to elevate its taste or enjoy it on its own with your cup of tea.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.