Go for a walk
Just a little exercise can make a difference. A Japanese study found that volunteers who exercised 30 to 90 minutes per week in a health club reduced blood pressure almost as much as those who had more than 90 minutes of sweat sessions every week. Try walking for 15 minutes every day to get the benefits. Here are easy ways to lose weight walking.
Load up on potassium
Potassium—sometimes called the “un-salt”—can lower blood pressure, but less than 2 percent of Americans get the recommended 4.7 grams of potassium a day. Avocados pack in more potassium than any other fruit or veggie, including bananas, so add some to your sandwich or salad for an nutritional boost. Other potassium-rich foods include cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, spinach, and lima beans. These are some of the healthiest vegetables and the healthiest fruits you can eat.
Schedule your medication
If you’ve started taking pills but still aren’t seeing a drop in blood pressure, make sure to schedule it so you don’t forget. About a quarter of the time, people aren’t seeing results because they forgot to take their medication. Set a reminder on your phone to go off at the same time every day.
Go heavy on the ground pepper
Cutting down on salt could make food taste bland for a few days, but pepper packs in lots of flavor so your taste buds won’t miss the lack of salt. Strong flavors like garlic, basil, and lemon can also help replace salt and train your tongue to stop craving all that sodium.
Invest in a home blood pressure kit
People who regularly check their blood pressure at home have lower overall blood pressure than those who only have it taken at a doctor’s office. Plus, examiners couldn’t catch the 9 percent of people who had high blood pressure at home but not at the office, found a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That same study found that getting tested in the doctor’s office couldn’t identify the 13 percent of people who only had high blood pressure in the office and not at home, which is probably because of the anxiety of being in a doctor’s office. Buy your own kit for an accurate view of your health. Here are other things doctors might not tell you about healthy blood pressure.
Pick a parking spot far from the door
Postmenopausal women who take an extra 4,000 to 5,000 steps every day could reduce their blood pressure by 11 points, according to a University of Tennessee study.
Consuming 4 tablespoons of flaxseed can lower systolic blood pressure in postmenopausal women who have a history of heart disease, a small study found. The seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which probably explains the effect. Try 2 tablespoons in your oatmeal or yogurt at breakfast, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons over soup or salad later in the day for a tasty crunch. Stock up on these 8 foods that naturally lower blood pressure.
Replace coffee with tea
For every cup of tea you drink a day, systolic blood pressure could reduce by two points and diastolic pressure by one point, according to an Australian study. More than four cups, though, and the same benefits won’t show. Check out these other powerful health benefits of tea.
Meditating relieves stress, and numerous studies have shown it can lower blood pressure, too. Every day, carve out five minutes to sit quietly and repeat a mantra like “This, too, shall pass” or “Breathe.” Here are 10 ways to mediate every day without even trying at all.
Snack on dark chocolate
Stiff blood vessels can increase blood pressure, but dark chocolate contains flavonoids to keep your arteries flexible. Three ounces of dark chocolate a day (milk chocolate doesn’t have the same flavonoids) can help reduce blood pressure in older people who have isolated systolic hypertension, which is when only the upper number of a blood pressure reading is high, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Wine, tea, and fruits and veggies also contain flavonoids.