What Can You Do to Lower Your Systolic Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition that affects nearly one-third of adults. It’s often called the “silent killer” because the symptoms aren’t always obvious. In fact, many people with high blood pressure don’t even realize they have it and may not know how to lower their systolic blood pressure. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to control your BP—and improve your overall health—without resorting to medication or other invasive treatments!
Eat a healthy diet
- Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet is one that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It is high in fiber but low in saturated fats and trans fat. You should also limit your sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams a day if you are age 51 or older or if you have high blood pressure; 1,500 milligrams if you are younger than 51 or do not have high blood pressure; 1,500 milligrams per day for everyone else who has diabetes; 1,200 milligrams per day for those who have chronic kidney disease or heart failure; and 1,500 milligrams per day for anyone over the age of 50 regardless of other health conditions.*
Exercise is an important part of lowering your blood pressure. You should exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or three times a week for 30 minutes. You should also gradually increase the intensity and duration of your activity over time until you are exercising at least 150 minutes each week (roughly 20 to 30 minutes per day). This can help you lose weight and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Drop extra pounds
If you have high blood pressure, losing weight may help you lower your systolic blood pressure. In general, losing just 5 to 10% of your body weight can lower your systolic blood pressure by an average of 4 to 7 mmHg. For example, if you are a man who weighs 200 pounds (91 kg) and has a systolic blood pressure reading at 150 mmHg, dropping 20 pounds (9 kg) could lower it by 30 points.
If you’re overweight or obese and want to lose weight safely and keep it off for good, try these tips:
- Eat less sugar
- Watch portion sizes
- Choose whole grains instead of refined carbs like white breads and pastas
One of the most important things you can do to lower your systolic blood pressure is to quit smoking. Smoking is a major risk factor for high blood pressure, and it can cause your arteries to narrow, which increases the pressure in your arteries. In fact, studies have shown that people who smoke are at least twice as likely to develop high blood pressure as non-smokers. In addition to increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke—two of the main causes of death in America—smoking also weakens your lungs and makes it harder for them to function properly.
So if you want better cardiovascular health and a lower chance of developing cardiovascular disease like heart attacks or strokes later down the road (not an unlikely scenario considering how many Americans suffer from these diseases), kick this nasty habit! Quitting smoking will help reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressures more quickly than not quitting at all
Drink alcohol in moderation.
It’s important to note that drinking alcohol in moderation is not the same as drinking a lot of alcohol. The recommended amount of alcohol is 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.
The American Heart Association recommends avoiding heavy drinking, which it defines as 4 or more drinks per occasion for men and 3 or more drinks for women on any day.
Moderate drinking includes consuming one 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (gin, rum, vodka) once a day on average.
Cut down on caffeine.
- Cut down on caffeine.
- Caffeine is a stimulant that increases blood pressure, which can have negative effects on the health of your heart and kidneys.
- Caffeine can stay in the body for up to 12 hours, so it’s important to cut back gradually rather than cold turkey.
- Be aware of what foods contain caffeine: coffee, tea and chocolate all contain it, but it’s also found in some medications such as painkillers (Anacin) or diet pills (Dexatrim).
- To reduce your consumption of caffeine: switch from soda to water; choose decaf over regular coffee; drink herbal teas instead of brewed tea; avoid energy drinks altogether or limit yourself to one per day; if you need a pick-me-up at work during lunchtime, grab an orange instead of an energy shot!
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but it’s important to try to minimize your exposure to stressors. Try taking time out of your day for relaxation or meditation; worse case scenario, you can always go for a walk or listen to some music. It’s also important not to let small things get under your skin and cause you unnecessary anxiety and stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by an upcoming project at work, take a break before tackling it head-on again.
You should also avoid situations that may cause high blood pressure such as driving on highways or being in a crowded place. If these situations do arise and you feel that your blood pressure is rising too high (it’s best if someone else checks this), leave the situation immediately so that your body can relax again
You can do several things to lower your systolic blood pressure, including making lifestyle changes, such as exercising and eating healthier.
In addition to eating healthy and exercising, you can also lower your systolic blood pressure by quitting smoking, cutting down on caffeine, reducing stress and drinking alcohol in moderation. If you’re concerned about your systolic blood pressure or have other health issues that may be related to it, talk to your doctor about what else you can do for yourself.
Lowering your blood pressure is something that can be accomplished with a combination of healthy lifestyle choices. You don’t have to give up everything you love, but there are some changes you can make that will help reduce your risk of complications from high blood pressure. Start by eating healthier foods and exercising regularly, then work on reducing stress in your life as well as quitting smoking if necessary. Finally, drink alcohol in moderation or cut it out entirely if possible because alcohol consumption has been linked with hypertension as well!