Get The Facts On Alcohol And Blood Pressure
Many of us like to have a drink when we go out with friends or family. The right concoction can make a delicious dish even better or help set the mood for a fun evening. But alcohol and blood pressure dont always mix well.
Drinking a lot can raise your blood pressure, which puts you at greater risk for a wide variety of further cardiovascular issues. So when you decide to drink, its important not to have too much.
How much is too much? If youre a woman, try not to have more than one drink per day. For men, no more than two drinks per day. A standard drink is a 12 oz. beer, a 5 oz. glass of wine or 1.5 oz. of spirits.
However, if youve already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may advise you on a different daily limit, or suggest you cut out alcohol completely.
And just to clear something up: Red wine isnt necessarily good for your heart the research is still unclear and we still suggest moderation.
Try Blood Pressure Support Supplements
A small study in the International Journal of Hypertension found magnesium supplementation can reduce blood pressure in small amountsAladin A, Chevli P, Ahmad MI, Rasool S, Herrington D. Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Hypertension. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019 73:12. . Talk to your doctor before taking magnesium supplements, especially if you have kidney disease. You can also safely incorporate high-magnesium foods into your diet. Dr. Desai recommends foods like leafy green vegetables and unsalted almonds.
Beyond magnesium, research in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology suggests potassium, L-arginine, vitamin C, cocoa flavonoids, beetroot juice, coenzyme Q10, controlled-release melatonin and aged garlic extract may also help reduce blood pressureBorghi C, Cicero AFG.. Nutraceuticals with a clinically detectable blood pressure-lowering effect: a review of available randomized clinical trials and their meta-analyses. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 2017 83:163171. .
Get Enough Sleep Each Night
Although sleep may not directly lower a persons blood pressure, it is vital for physical health and mental wellbeing. A lack of good quality sleep can increase the risk of chronic health conditions, some of which may increase a persons blood pressure.
The exact amount of sleep a person needs will vary from person to person. However, adults should be aiming to get between 79 hours of good quality sleep each night.
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How To Lower Blood Pressure: 5 Natural Ways
Studies over the past 20 years have shown that the majority of people in economic developing countries have blood pressure numbers that are higher than they should be, with many experiencing high blood pressure.
In fact, there are millions of people all over the world who are struggling with high blood pressure symptoms, or hypertension. As of 2008, the prevalence of elevated blood pressure among adults over 25 years old was about 40 percent worldwide. Approximately 75 million American adults thats 32 percent, or 1 in every 3 adults suffer from high blood pressure.
Why Does Hypertension Matter
If you are in this 130/80 range, reducing your blood pressure can help protect you from heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, eye disease, and even cognitive decline. The goal of the new guidelines is to encourage you to treat your high blood pressure seriously and to take action to bring it down, primarily using lifestyle interventions. “It is well documented that lifestyle changes can lower blood pressure as much as pills can, and sometimes even more,” says Dr. Fisher.
Making those changes can be challenging. More than one woman has woken up in the morning committed to healthy eating only to be derailed by a plate of cookies on a table in the office or a dinner out with friends.
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Follow A Dash Eating Plan
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.8 Its an approach to healthy eating that’s specifically aimed to help lower your blood pressure.
In particular, this encourages following correct portion sizes, reducing sodium in your diet and eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods. This includes: 8
- Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
- Choosing fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils
- Avoiding or limiting foods that are high in saturated fat
- Reducing sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets
Easy Things You Can Do To Lower Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is dangerous. It can lead to many health problems, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, angina, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, kidney disease, vision loss, sexual dysfunction and more.
Fortunately, high blood pressure can often be prevented or controlled.
Here are some easy things you can do to lower your blood pressure or help prevent high blood pressure in the first place.
Set small, easily attainable goals, and when you reach them, set bigger ones. Step by step, you will take control of your health and your blood pressure.
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Foods That Help Lower Blood Pressure
Many researchers have found that certain foods can lower high blood pressure. We look at some foods that may help and how to incorporate them into the diet.
In general, the United States Department of Agriculture considers a serving to be:
- 1 cup of cooked or raw vegetables or fruit
- 1 cup of 100% fruit juice
- 2 cups of raw leafy salad greens
- half a cup of dried fruit
For most ages, the USDA recommends consuming around 2 cups of fruit per day and 3 cups of vegetables per day, although this varies slightly according to age and sex.
Consider Taking Vitamins And Supplements
Research shows that a few vitamins and minerals may be helpful in lowering blood pressure. But talk to your doctor before taking any. Make sure they know everything you take.
- Vitamin C: This has antioxidants that protect the linings of your blood vessels. Orange juice is a good source, as are fruits like kiwi and strawberries, and vegetables like broccoli, kale, tomatoes, and sweet red peppers. Adults should get 400 mg per day.
Potassium: This helps your body get rid of sodium through your pee. Men should aim for 3,400 mg a day, and women around 2,600. Itâs found in fruits like bananas and prunes and vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, and artichoke.
Vitamin D: This helps make the enzyme renin, which is linked to blood pressure health. You can get vitamin D from fatty fish, like salmon or mackerel, or milk. You also can absorb vitamin D from sunlight or take it in a supplement.
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Eat Some Dark Chocolate
Yes, chocolate lovers: Dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure.
But the dark chocolate should be 60 to 70 percent cacao. A review of studies on dark chocolate has found that eating one to two squares of dark chocolate per day may help lower the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and inflammation.
The benefits are thought to come from the flavonoids present in chocolate with more cocoa solids. The flavonoids help dilate, or widen, your blood vessels .
Don’t Overdo Your Drinking
Moderate alcohol consumptionup to one drink a day for women and two for menmay have beneficial effects on blood pressure. “But any more than that seems to do just the opposite,” says Dr. Goldberg. “We know that heavy drinking raises blood pressure, in addition to increasing your risk for other chronic conditions.”
This shouldn’t just be a concern for older adults or people who already have high blood pressure, either. A 2016 study found that 20-somethings who regularly binge drink were more likely than their moderately drinking peers to have prehypertensiona condition that can progress to full-blown hypertension.
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Eat Dark Chocolate Or Cocoa
While eating massive amounts of dark chocolate probably wont help your heart, small amounts may.
Thats because dark chocolate and cocoa powder are rich in flavonoids, which are plant compounds that cause blood vessels to dilate.
A review of studies found that flavonoid-rich cocoa may reduce short-term blood pressure levels in healthy adults .
For the strongest effects, use non-alkalized cocoa powder, which is especially high in flavonoids and has no added sugars.
Bottom line: Dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain plant compounds that help relax blood vessels, which may lower blood pressure.
In people with overweight, losing weight can make a big difference to heart health.
According to a 2016 study, losing 5% of your body weight could significantly lower high blood pressure (
Losing weight can help your blood vessels do a better job of expanding and contracting, making it easier for the left ventricle of the heart to pump blood .
Bottom line: Losing weight can significantly lower high blood pressure. This effect is even more pronounced when you exercise.
Foods And Drinks Containing Caffeine
Foods and beverages containing caffeine may cause a rise in blood pressure. However, studies into the effects of caffeine on blood pressure are inconclusive. suggests that coffee temporarily raises blood pressure only in people who do not drink it regularly.
Other foods and drinks that contain caffeine include chocolate, tea, cocoa, and some sodas and energy drinks.
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Power Up Your Probiotics
In a 2014 review of previous studies, people who consumed probioticshealthy bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented foodssaw their systolic blood pressure reduced an average of 3.6 points, and their diastolic reduced 2.4 points, compared to those who didn’t.
Those with blood pressure higher than 130/85 experienced the greatest reductions, along with those who took probiotic supplements or ate probiotic foods for longer than two months.
Experts say any effect probiotics have on blood pressure is likely modest, but that they may play a role in an overall heart-healthy lifestyle.
Research Shows Losing Weight Leads To Heart Health
A diet thats low in fat and carbohydrates can improve artery function, according to a 2012 study by Johns Hopkins researchers. After six months, those on the low-carb diet had lost more weight, and at a faster pace. But in both groups, when weight was lostand especially when belly fat shrankthe arteries were able to expand better, allowing blood to travel more freely. The study shows that you dont have to cut out all dietary fat to shrink belly fat. For heart health, simply losing weight and exercising seems to be key.
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Lose Weight If Needed
For people with overweight, losing even 510% of body weight may help to lower blood pressure.
However, not everyone needs to lose weight. If your weight falls within a moderate range, losing weight may not be necessary. Talk to your doctor to discuss whether its appropriate for you.
At ZOE, we dont believe in restrictive dieting. The ZOE program helps you find the best foods for your unique body and overall health, which may lead to natural weight loss.
Unpublished research shows that people who closely followed their personalized ZOE nutrition program for 3 months lost an average of 9.4 pounds, while 82% said they had more energy and felt less hungry.
Essential Oils For Blood Pressure
Another of the many natural ways to lower blood pressure is to incorporate some key essential oils into your daily lifestyle. Essential oils can lower blood pressure by dilating arteries, acting as antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress and by decreasing emotional stress. The most effective essential oils for lowering blood pressure are lavender, ylang ylang, clary sage and frankincense.
Talk with your natural doctor about how to lower blood pressure naturally and safely. Check with your doctor before making major diet and exercise changes. If youre taking any medications, youll also want to make sure there are no drug interactions with any natural supplements you plan to take.
- Blood pressure is a combination of systolic and diastolic pressure.
- High blood pressure happens when the pressure on the arteries and blood vessels becomes too high and the arterial wall becomes distorted causing extra stress on the heart.
- You can monitor your own blood pressure by measuring your pulse rate.
- Try natural ways to lower blood pressure like dietary changes, stress relievers and exercise.
- Check with your doctor before making any major diet or exercise changes or trying new supplements.
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How To Lower Blood Pressure Quickly
First and most importantly, if you think youre having a complication of high blood pressure such as a stroke, a heart attack, or something else, seek immediate medical attention. Dont try to solve problems like these on your ownyou need comprehensive care.
Otherwise, when you feel your blood pressure may be too high and you want to lower it quickly, Dr. Osborne suggests calming down. Here are some things you can try:
- Stop what youre doing and sit.
- Do a breathing exercise.
- Take medication to lower your blood pressure if advised by your doctor.
- Reduce chronic stress.
Remember that it can take a few weeks or up to a month to see the effects of that in your blood pressure, so keep plugging away for the best results.
Keep in mind that in some cases, long term blood pressure medication may be necessary if you cant lower high blood pressure through diet and lifestyle changes. Those drugs will be the quickest path to lower blood pressure levelsoften taking only minutes to even your blood pressure out. Finding the right medication might be the only way to control high blood pressure, and multiple medications may be necessary in some cases, like resistant hypertension. A rule of thumb is to start blood pressure medications and make lifestyle changes. As blood pressure improves with lifestyle modifications, medications might be able to be weaned off.
Reduce Your Sodium Intake
Itâs a prime offender in raising blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends that people with hypertension keep it under 1,500 milligrams a day. Check your food labels to see how much youâre getting. If you cut back gradually, youâre less likely to notice the difference. Limiting sodium to just 2,400 milligrams per day can lower your number 2 to 8 points.
One way to cut back is to prepare your food at home. Seventy-five percent of your sodium intake comes from eating out and packaged foods. Use more spices for flavor instead of salt. Eating more potassium helps move sodium out of your body. A small effort can bring blood pressure down as much as two to eight points.
Ways to cut out sneaky salt and add healthy flavor:
- Read labels. Look for “salt,” “sodium,” “sea salt,” and “kosher salt.”
- Rinse salty canned food such as beans or tuna before using it.
- Substitute herbs and spices for sodium and salt when cooking.
- Avoid instant or flavored side dishes, which usually have a lot of added sodium. Instead, try cooking plain rice, pasta, or grains without adding salt. You can add other flavorings or a bit of salt when you serve them.
- Look for “low sodium” on food labels.
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Try Cutting Back On The Salt
Reducing your sodium intake can play an important role in lowering your systolic blood pressure. The average American consumes more than 3,500 milligrams of sodium daily, which is well above the American Heart Association‘s recommendation of less than 2,300 milligrams per day.
“I think we all know that adding salt to your food is bad for your blood pressure,” Dr. Berger says. “But what we don’t always know is that when you eat food from a can or a box, it is filled with sodium.”
Dr. Berger recommends following a reduced-sodium diet called DASH , developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which also emphasizes a reduction in trans fats and refined sugar, as well as a sufficient intake of magnesium, potassium and calcium.
Because everyone responds differently to dietary changes, it may take some fine-tuning to find the right diet for your specific heart health.
“Everyone’s sodium responsiveness is a bit different,” says Howard Weintraub, MD, the clinical director of the Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, at NYU Langone Health in New York City. “So if you’re going to take the time to modify your nutrition, you shouldn’t only reduce how much salt you use, but also make it more healthy in general.”
In other words, Dr. Weintraub says, leaving the salt off but continuing to eat French fries probably isn’t going to help.
Regular Exercise To Reduce High Blood Pressure
The Journal of the American Heart Association reports on a review of trials involving the effects of exercise training on blood pressure. The results of 95 trials found that regular exercise and resistance training lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Even less vigorous exercising such as walking can also help to remedy hypertension. One study found that moderate walking can help to lower blood pressure naturally and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
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