Dear Spin Doctor,
Recently, I discovered that I’m beginning to have high blood pressure. I’m not sure yet if it’s because of my age, or because of what I eat. As much as possible, I want to cure it through natural ways. Can you help me?
It would certainly be ignorant and irresponsible of us to not tell you to go to a physician. The most logical way to know if your blood pressure is high and how to properly control it is through regular checkups. If it’s already worse than you thought, the doctor will most likely give you a prescription for specific meds to keep your blood pressure in check. But if it’s still on its early stages, they probably won’t give you anything, but just ask you to watch what you eat and lower food intake and stuff like that.
Now, assuming you’ve already gone over that and you’re still a bit nervous about going over your limitations, there are other ways you can help yourself from being hypertensive.
Cut back on caffeine
Try downing a cup of coffee before you have your blood pressure taken, and you’ll find out that caffeine causes an instant boost. Okay, maybe don’t try it.
Although that causes a temporary spike, there hasn’t been much study about it causing a lasting increase. In fact, studies have found that drinking coffee (and tea) can lower your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
Keep in mind, though, that caffeine may have a stronger effect on people who don’t consume it regularly. If you suspect you’re caffeine-sensitive, cut back to see if it lowers your blood pressure.
Stress, as you probably expected, is a key driver of high blood pressure. When you're chronically stressed, your body is in a constant fight-or-flight mode. On a physical level, that means a faster heart rate and constricted blood vessels.
We’ve discussed this a while back but here are the basics of how you can relieve stress and prevent yourself from burning out.
- Disconnect - Don’t make yourself available to work and other stress-inducing activities 24/7.
- Take breaks - Don’t do everything at once just so you could “finish early.” Do one thing, take a break, then do another.
- Organize - The more you organize what you’re going to do on a daily basis, the less confusion and stress you have to go through.
- Support system - Lean on the ones that really have your back. Chill. Hang out. Don’t be serious all the time. Learn to have fun.
To learn these on an in-depth level, read this.
Here’s a piece of advice we know you’ll really get behind.
The non-sweetened dark chocolates help improve several markers of heart health, including lowering blood pressure.
BUT REMEMBER: Only taking small amounts of dark chocolate will help. Eating an entire block won’t. It will worsen your condition.
Actually, scratch that—quit all your unhealthy habits and vices. That includes overeating, drugs, drinking too much alcohol, and, obviously, smoking.
Did you know that every puff of cigarette causes a slight, temporary increase in blood pressure? And the chemicals in tobacco are also known to damage blood vessels.
If you’re overweight, losing all those extra, unnecessary fats can make a difference for your heart health. The effect is even greater when weight loss is paired with exercise.
Well, what can we say more about alcohol? Studies link alcohol to 16% of high blood pressure around the world. Although low to moderate amounts have been found to help, drinking more than two glasses will not do you any good.
Constant exercise helps the heart use oxygen more efficiently, so it doesn’t work as hard to pump blood into your system.
Going for walks can already be considered exercise, so maybe instead of your usual tricycle ride, maybe you could try walking if you’re not in a rush. Walking just 30 minutes a day can already help lower your blood pressure. More exercise helps reduce it even more.