5 Lifestyle Tips To Lower High Blood Pressure
By: Irina Todorov, MD • Posted on January 05, 2023
1.Limit Sedentary Time
There is an inverse dose-response relationship between physical activity and the incident of hypertension among adults with normal blood pressure. In addition, physical activity reduces blood pressure among adults with normal blood pressure, prehypertension and hypertension.¹
- Both aerobic and resistance exercise have been proven to reduce blood pressure effectively.
- Aim for 10,000 steps a day. Brisk walking is an easy, free, and effective way of exercise.
- Plan your physical activity ahead of time and block specific time in your schedule for exercise.
- Choose physical activity that you enjoy. My personal favorites are dancing and hiking. If you have limited mobility – try swimming, stationary bike or chair yoga. The Cleveland Clinic Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine offers free virtual chair yoga and Thai Chi classes – you can sign up at clevelandclinic.org/CILMevents
2. Stop Smoking
There is a significant positive dose–response relationship between smoking and the onset of hypertension.² Increased blood pressure is seen not only with cigarette smoking, but also with electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use and hookah (water pipe smoking).
3. Limit Alcohol
There is also a significant positive dose–response relationship between alcohol consumption and the onset of hypertension.² Current guidelines recommend limiting alcohol consumption to less than one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men to help lower blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
4. Choose Herbal Teas Instead of Caffeinated Drinks
Studies have shown that Hibiscus tea decreases blood pressure similar to blood pressure medication Captopril and decreases the total cholesterol, LDL and Triglycerides. Meta-analysis of 5 randomized controlled studies published in 2015 show that regular drinking of Hibiscus tea can decrease systolic BP with 7.5 mm and diastolic BP with 3.5 mm.³
You can prepare a Hibiscus tea at home with 1 teaspoon of loose dry Hibiscus flowers or tea bags and sip it throughout the day.⁴
5.Eat Healthy Diet and Reduce Salt Intake
People should be eating more home cooked meals as they typically contain vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds and are considered minimally processed. Commercially prepared food like fast food, TV dinners, chips, sweets, and sweetened beverages are low in nutritional values and high in calories – eat less of these. They are usually found in the middle isles of the grocery store, contain five or more ingredients and meet the criteria for “ultra-processed food.”
Besides salt, sugar, oils, and fats, ingredients of ultra-processed foods include food substances not commonly used in culinary preparations, such as hydrolyzed protein, modified starches, and hydrogenated oils, additives and colorings. A study published in 2019 concluded that eating four or more ultra-processed foods a day on a regular basis was independently associated with a 62% increased for all-cause mortality.⁴
Be Strong, Be Healthy, Be in Charge!
Irina Todorov, MD
- Pescatello LS, Buchner DM, Jakicic JM, Powell KE, Kraus WE, Bloodgood B, Campbell WW, Dietz S, Dipietro L, George SM, Macko RF, McTiernan A, Pate RR, Piercy KL; 2018 PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GUIDELINES ADVISORY COMMITTEE*. Physical Activity to Prevent and Treat Hypertension: A Systematic Review. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019 Jun;51(6):1314-1323. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001943. PMID: 31095088.
- Nagao T, Nogawa K, Sakata K, Morimoto H, Morita K, Watanabe Y, Suwazono Y. Effects of Alcohol Consumption and Smoking on the Onset of Hypertension in a Long-Term Longitudinal Study in a Male Workers' Cohort. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Nov 10;18(22):11781. doi: 10.3390/ijerph182211781. PMID: 34831535; PMCID: PMC8619602.
- Serban C, Sahebkar A, Ursoniu S, Andrica F, Banach M. Effect of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) on arterial hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Hypertens. 2015 Jun;33(6):1119-27. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000000585. PMID: 25875025.
- Rico-Campà A, Martínez-González MA, Alvarez-Alvarez I, Mendonça RD, de la Fuente-Arrillaga C, Gómez-Donoso C, Bes-Rastrollo M. Association between consumption of ultra-processed foods and all cause mortality: SUN prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2019 May 29;365:l1949. doi: 10.1136/bmj.l1949. PMID: 31142450; PMCID: PMC6538973.
Dr. Irina Todorov is board certified in both Family Medicine and Integrative Medicine and practiced for 7 years in Europe prior to moving to the USA. She has additional training in Herbal Medicine, manual therapies, mind/body techniques, and aromatherapy which are used to create a unique plan for each individual patient that is in alignment with the patient’s beliefs and preferences. She treats children, adolescents and adults. Languages include English and Bulgarian.
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