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Controlling Your Blood Pressure Naturally
Controlling Your Blood Pressure Naturally
In order to preserve your health and prevent calamities associated with high blood pressure such as stroke and heart attack, it is important to get your hypertension under control. For some, medications are absolutely necessary to keep blood pressure in check, but there are a lot of things that you can do to lessen your need for blood pressure medication or improve your blood pressure without medication. The following are ten steps that you can take to improve your cardiovascular health through simple lifestyle changes.
Lose Weight to Control Blood Pressure
Body fat percentage has a strong correlation with elevated blood pressure. For one thing, adipose fat deposits, which tend to build up around the stomach, hips, and thighs, affect hormone balance in a way that increases blood pressure. Furthermore, men and women that are overweight are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea and poor sleep, which further exacerbates normal cardiovascular patterns.
If you are overweight, simply dropping ten pounds can have a significantly positive effect on your blood pressure. Are you at risk for elevated blood pressure due to weight? The rule of thumb is that women with a waist larger than thirty-five inches are at risk, and for men, over forty inches. Risk increases with increased size.
Exercise More to Lower Blood Pressure
Ideally, a combination of eating better and increasing physical activity are a 1-2 punch to both lose weight and improve blood pressure. Consistent physical activity is key to controlling blood pressure. We recommend at least a half an hour of activity that boosts your heart rate per day. Some great options for improving cardiovascular health are dancing, swimming, biking, jogging, walking, or lifting weights. Do what ever makes you happy and works for you! Exercise works both for people that have hypertension and those that want to help get their hypertension under control.
Eat Better to Improve Cardiovascular Health
The modern diet does no favors for the heart. If you want to get your blood pressure under control, we recommend significantly reducing your intake of cholesterol and saturated fat while increasing your consumption of low-fat dairy, veggies, fruits, and whole grains. If you're interested in a more specific diet plan, the DASH Diet is considered the best diet plan available for controlling hypertension and modulating blood pressure.
Eat Less Salt for Hypertension
Salt has a nasty way of making your blood pressure issues worse. Though there is some contention whether salt intake is a root cause of hypertension, it certainly exacerbates existing problems, potentially to a dangerous degree. Dropping your salt intake just a little can have big benefits for your health.
One of the best ways to reduce your sodium consumption is to start eating more natural foods or simply to start cooking more for yourself. Packaged foods are often loaded with salt to mask reduced food quality and flavor, so you can avoid a lot of salt that way. Also, consider other options to add taste to your food, such as pepper and other spices and herbs.
Finally, understand that the modern palate has grown accustomed to abnormally high levels of salt and other cheap flavorings. If you're having trouble ditching the salt quickly, slowly reduce the amount of salt in the foods that you eat, and in no time you'll find that your palate has become more refined and your need for salt will have diminished significantly.
Drink Less for Better Blood Pressure
Alcohol is a double-edged sword when it comes to hypertension. Very moderate drinking can be beneficial, but anything more than two drinks per day (one drink per day for people over sixty-five), and the effect is reversed. If you're having issues with your blood pressure and you are a heavy drinker, finding a way to drink less or stop drinking altogether may be a literal life-saver. It's also important to realize that drinking while taking certain medications for Hypertension can limit the benefits of these drugs.
Stop Smoking to Relieve Hypertension
Smoking has numerous awful effects on your health and wellness, beyond yellow teeth, coughing, and pulmonary issues. Smoking has a direct impact on blood pressure. Blood pressure elevates immediately after you finish a cigarette and continues for quite awhile afterward. When you give up smoking altogether, you'll have healthier and more stable blood pressure, which reduces your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other potentially fatal health issues which reduce your life expectancy.
Reduce Caffeine Intake to Regulate Blood Pressure
There are still a lot of unanswered questions when it comes to the connection between blood pressure and caffeine. It appears that caffeine has its strongest notable effect on blood pressure when people that don't consume a lot of caffeine suddenly do. If you, like so many Americans, have a strong dependency on caffeine, consumption has a minimal impact on blood pressure.
It may be best to use a blood pressure device for yourself to see how caffeine impacts your blood flow. If, in the half hour after taking in caffeine, you see an increase in blood pressure, you should scale back your caffeine consumption. It appears that some people have a caffeine sensitivity, while others don't. It's best to talk to your physician about caffeine and your personal health.
Mitigate Stress to Improve Blood Flow
Everyone has stress. It's part of being human - alive even. It's important to react the right way to stress, however. Many grab a cigarette or a beer when they're anxious. Others seek comfort in unhealthy food. Unfortunately, all of these things are bad for your blood pressure. Use stress as an opportunity to engage in good habits. Exercise and journal-keeping both have a positive impact on stress levels and mental state, for example. Take time to meditate, start practicing yoga, or simply set aside a time in your day to engage in quiet, peaceful, mindful thinking.
Track Your Blood Pressure to Know Your Triggers and Help Your Doctor Keep You Healthy
There are lots of things that you can do to help keep your blood pressure in the healthy range, as we've mentioned above, but taking the time to periodically monitor your own blood pressure can be the best thing that you can do to get a handle on your heart. That way, you can see the benefits of your healthy lifestyle changes and also recognize certain factors that relate to hypertension. Armed with this information, you are a more informed patient, which will help you get the best possible care from your doctor during your checkups.
Get a Little Help From Your Friends to Improve Cardiovascular Health
Going along can make it very difficult for some people to manage their blood pressure and other health issues in their lives. Reaching out to friends and family and letting them know about your goals can help. Having someone that's concerned for you, or willing to exercise with you or have a healthy dinner with you, can help a ton!
There are also support groups available across the country to help people just like you improve your health and wellness. You can join a support group which specifically revolves around hypertension, or any number of groups that can help you uplift your lifestyle!
The Positive Impact of Physical Activity on Well-Being
The Positive Impact of Physical Activity on Well-Being
Everyone understands the importance of exercise with regard to physical health, but modern research continues to show how psychological health is intrinsically related to physical wellbeing. By engaging in regular exercise, it is possible to significantly boost mental wellness.
Because of this change in how we perceive exercise as it relates to wellness, it becomes even more important to remain active, not only to keep the body healthy, but our emotional responses positive and stable.
When it comes to being active, you have a lot of different options. You don't have to get a gym membership or run a mile every day, you just have to take conscientious steps to boost your activity levels in ways that you enjoy or are passionate about!
What is Physical Activity?
Physical activity refers to any action that you take that burns calories and activates your skeletal muscles. The options at your disposal are practically limitless, whether you like to jog, run, play basketball, bike, or lift weights!
How Much Should I Exercise?
As of today, wellness researchers suggest that adults should engage in between 1 and 2 hours of physical activity per week. This pertains to both modest exercise and high intensity exercise. Good examples of exercise that are low impact but good for your health are bike-riding, hiking, and walking. If you're looking for something that will get you in even better shape, consider jump rope, aerobics, swimming laps, or running. If your pulse and breathing speed up at least modestly, you can count the activity toward your weekly goal.
What is Mental Wellness?
Maintaining psychological and emotional well-being are just as important as supporting physical health. Mental wellness is a complicated subject, including, but not limited to the following:
Maintaining a sense of value and purpose
Feeling free to make our own decisions and make our own choices
Having a sense of belonging
Being able to roll with the punches and appreciate the positive experiences in one's life
Caring about oneself and being able to enjoy relationships with others
It's important to realize that you don't have to be perfectly content all of the time to have good mental wellbeing. Happiness and sorrow, pain and pleasure are experiences that all people have. It's about maintaining general positivity and keeping yourself on a path which facilitates happiness.
How Does Exercise Improve Wellbeing?
As we hinted at earlier, the human mind does not exist in a vacuum separate from the body. Maintaining physical health facilitates an improved mindset and better psychological health and wellbeing. Studies have shown that even brief periods of physical activity can bolster our mood. A quick-paced ten minute walk has been scientifically shown to improve mood, increase energy, and boost cognitive awareness.
Other studies have shown that engaging in regular exercise can both mitigate anxiety and stress and boost self-esteem, both in the short-term and in the long-term. For people that suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, and other psychological conditions, exercise has also been shown to soften the symptoms of these disorders while significantly improving mental wellbeing.
The Effects of Exercise on Mood
In addition to the effects on long-term psychological wellbeing, exercise also has immediate effects upon mood and mood stability. In one particular study, participants were asked to self-report their mood after different levels of activity. Participants that engage in sedentary activity were found to be in worse moods than those that engaged in light activity such as cleaning or taking a walk.
There is also a strong correlation between physical activity and a variety of particular feelings associated with psychological wellbeing, such as remaining calm and maintaining wakefulness and focus. One thing that is interesting about exercise is that it tends to have the strongest effects on people when they are struggling the most. People that rated themselves lower with regard to mood experienced more significant improvements than their peers that were initially in better moods.
What Level of Activity is Most Effective at Improving Mood?
Research has shown that even a little bit of exercise puts us in a better mood, but those benefits are amplified when we engage in regular physical activity. The most effective form of mood-enhancing exercise is low-impact cardiovascular exercise. A 2 1/2-3 month exercise regimen of thirty minutes of activity three to five times per week significantly improved a variety of different factors associated with positive emotional well-being.
The Effects of Exercise and Activity on Stress
Above all else, stress has a more degrading effect on psychological health than anything else. Stress can be defined as any outside agitation that causes tension or emotional distress. Stress directly leads to an increase in cortisol levels and the activation of fight-or-flight response. Stress puts us on edge, and is very draining on the human body, both physically and psychologically. We act differently when we are stressed, and we have a tendency to feel emotions more powerfully, especially negative emotions.
Other hormones also play a role in stress, including noradrenaline and adrenaline. These hormones boost our pulse and increase our blood pressure, designed to help us get out of potentially harmful situations. Stress is a good thing in small doses. It motivates us and helps keep us safe. The problem is with chronic stress. When we are chronically stressed, it causes us to become depressed and frazzled. It makes us more likely to sleep poorly and it even makes us more likely to make poor dietary choices!
Like we mentioned earlier, physical and psychological well-being are intrinsically connected. The same goes for physical and psychological stress. Physical activity provides an outlet for psychological stress. Individuals that maintain high activity levels are clearly shown to have less stress than people that are more sedentary.
The Effect of Exercise on Self-Esteem
It appears that Self-Esteem is strongly correlated with activity level. People that are less active tend to have lower self-esteem and are more likely to get down on themselves. It's not all about looking better, the effects of regular exercise on self-esteem are apparent even in the absence of physical changes. Being active helps us cope, and it helps us maintain a stronger connection with our bodies and with the world around us.
Eight Tricks to Relieve Inflammation
Eight Tricks to Relieve Inflammation
Chronic inflammation, elevated cortisol levels, and high cholesterol are all highly interconnected health issues which can have a significant impact on your health and wellness, including your long term mortality and your ability to appreciate and enjoy your day to day life. The following are some tips that can help you keep inflammation under control and help you live a happier, healthier life!
Eat More Fish to Control Inflammation
Among all meat products available, fish is perhaps the healthiest addition to your weekly diet. Cold-water fish such as Anchovies, Mackerel, Herring, Sardines, and Salmon are high in Omega-Three Fatty Acids, which have been shown to reduce the negative influence of free radicals, and can even reduce the level of inflammation to the liver and kidneys caused by many prescription medicines. Eating just 3 ounces of fish twice per week was shown to drop the risk of death via heart disease by over 1/3.
Have a Colorful Diet
Did you know that the colors of the foods that you eat have a lot to do with their nutritional content? Foods that have bright colors are most likely to contain ingredients which are highly beneficial, such as antioxidants and vitamins. Foods such as berries, eggplant, peppers, and broccoli all can benefit you when it comes to inflammation. Other fine choices include figs, strawberries, mangoes, blueberries, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, squash, and carrots.
Get Creative with Spices to Reduce Inflammation
If you are interested in easing those chronic aches and pains, as well as inflammation, there are natural spices and herbs that can help you. For example, there is strong evidence that garlic can help control your cholesterol. There are other flavorful ingredients which have been shown to reduce the chances of experiencing stroke, heart attack, or high blood pressure by helping you control your salt levels. One Anti-Inflammation Super-Spice is Turmeric, which has been proven effective at controlling psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis.
Control Sugar Intake to Improve Inflammation
Year after year, the dangers of added sugar become more apparent. Fruit juices which used to be recommended are now frowned upon, as they are loaded with sugar and have far less nutritional content per calorie than their real-fruit counterparts. Type-2 Diabetes is caused by prolonged excess consumption of high levels of sugar, and one of the primary characteristics of the condition is widespread inflammation. Reducing sugar consumption can also help control cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. If you are interested in staying fit, healthy, and free of pain, ditching the sugar is the way to go.
Limit Your Alcohol Use and Avoid Alcohol Abuse
Using alcohol is strongly associated with increased inflammation. If you are feeling aches and pains associated with inflammation, consider scaling back your use of alcohol in order to keep your cortisol levels under control. Drinking too much alcohol can also affect your sleeping patterns, which can lead to increased cortisol levels, and thus, greater inflammation. Also, you should always be aware of the potential interactions that alcohol can have with medications that you are taking, because many can lead to liver damage when combined with alcohol.
Consider an Allergy Test, or Removing Gluten from Your Diet
It may be true that Celiac Sensitivity appears to be overblown, but there is a strong connection between Gluten Allergy and Inflammation. Other food sensitivities and allergies can also lead to inflammation, fatigue, and other symptoms often not associated with allergic reaction. Medical clinics are now able to take a blood sample and provide you with a list of things that your body reacts poorly to, and this can help you adjust your diet to reduce inflammation. Furthermore, if you are allergic to gluten, omitting it from your diet can do wonders for your energy levels and can diminish inflammation significantly. Gluten is a unique protein that is in a number of grains, like rye, barley, and wheat. It is frequently an ingredient in highly processed products such as dressings, soy sauce, and processed meats.
Eat More Nuts and Use Oils Based from Nuts
Like brightly colored fruits and vegetables, nuts are also very high in antioxidant content, and are great for men and women that suffer from health issues resulting from inflammation. If you are looking for a good cooking oil, or a good oil for your salad, try nut, avocado, or olive oil. There are also a number of nut and seed oils that can be taken in supplemental form to reduce inflammation, such as black seed currant, borage, evening primrose, and flax seed oil. When eating nuts for your health, remember to eat them in moderation, because, in spite of their dense nutritional value, they do contain a lot of calories and fat and should be eaten conscientiously.
Probiotics for Improved Immune Health and Relief from Inflammation
Most people don't realize it, but the composition of your gut bacteria has a lot to do with your overall health. Not all bacteria are bad, and, in fact, a lot of them are actually necessary for your digestive system to operate correctly. There is clinical and patient-reported evidence that probiotics can improve the symptoms of psoriasis and other forms of chronic inflammation. In one particular study, Lactobacillus Reuteri, for example, was able to control total cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol, and was able to lower the prevalence of cholesterol-transporting molecules in the blood stream. Probiotics are a simple and easy addition to your diet that can go a long way toward improving your health and keeping your inflammation in check.
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