Here are 12 proven ways to reduce your diastolic and systolic blood pressure without resorting to drugs; you can start today; over a third of adults in the Western world have high blood pressure and risk many illnesses like heart attack, kidney failure and stroke as a result.
- Do not smoke – there’s clear research showing this puts up blood pressure
- Don’t be overweight – research shows that a controlled weight loss programme reduces blood pressure. Your waistline size is also linked directly to blood pressure!
Take aerobic exercise – run, walk, jog, swim. Regular daily exercise for 45-60 minutes where you get out of breath for at least 20 is what’s required.
Avoid Stress – Stress has a devastating effect on blood pressure. Pinpoint your stress triggers, and try to cut those people and things out of your life. Make time to relax and calm down. Plan your weeks better, include times when you work, times when you relax, times when you are enjoying other interests.
Eat a Rainbow Diet – in research, women who stuck most closely to the Rainbow Diet over a 15 year period, avoided 11 chronic illnesses that beset the Western World – one being high blood pressure.
Avoid salt – higher sodium levels in the body are linked to higher blood pressure. You should cut foods such as Chinese meals, sausages, bacon, dried meats, salted nuts and crisps. You should focus on potassium-rich foods (avocado, banana, spinach, sweet potato, apricots, pomegranate) and magnesium-rich foods (almonds, figs, spinach, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds). Eat fresh, not processed or packaged foods.
Moderate drinking – while a glass of red wine appears beneficial in lowering blood pressure, a bottle a day most definitely increases blood pressure levels.
Eat more, more colourful vegetables – Glutathione in vegetables and fruits reduces blood pressure; Beetroot, for example, has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels by 5 points, as it contains nitrate which converts to nitric oxide, which dilates arteries. Watermelon contains citrulline and does the same; arginine is found in pumpkin seeds, nuts and pulses and reduces blood pressure. Other nitrate containing foods include green leafy vegetables, celery, fennel and broccoli.
Eat more soluble fibre foods – oats, barley, nuts, seeds and legumes (pulses) are the favourite foods of good gut bacteria and their consumption is linked to lowered blood sugar, lowered oestrogen levels and lowered blood pressure.
Eat more Mediterranean foods – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, oily fish, pomegranate, flaxseed, garlic, onions – all these have proven benefits in reducing blood pressure.
Enjoy sunshine – We all know you increase blood levels of vitamin D if you lie in the sunshine. But did you know our levels of serotonin increase and that generates happy hormones, cutting stress, and also sunshine increase nitric oxide levels reducing blood pressure.
Caffeine – think coffee increases your blood pressure? Actually, the jury is out. In some people it does; in regular drinkers, it doesn’t seem to do so. But it needs to be real coffee, not instant.
To go to books: Rainbow Diet book; Heal your Gut Book