What can I do to lower my blood pressure?While the cause of high blood pressure is difficult to pinpoint, there are ways it can be lowered through changes in behavior. Here are some ways that have been shown to help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension:
• giving up cigarette smoking
• controlling stress
• getting regular exercise
• losing weight if you are overweight or obese
• eating plenty of whole foods low in sodium and high in potassium and calcium, that is, plant foods and nonfat dairy products
•having no more than two drinks per day (one “drink” is one bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or one highball)
• reducing coffee consumption to two cups (or less) per day.
You can do a lot yourself to control your blood pressure. You might call this the natural way of blood pressure control. If you lower your stress level, change your food choices, lose weight, reduce coffee and alcohol consumption, quit smoking, and increase your physical exercise, and your blood pressure is still too high, medication may be required. But with the lifestyle changes we have suggested, even if you need medication, you’ll need a lower dose, which will save you money and decrease side effects, complications, and discomfort.