High blood pressure (hypertension) is the biggest risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which in turn is the leading cause of death in Germany. About 35 million Germans suffer from hypertension, but only about half of those affected know of their elevated levels. Because a high blood pressure often causes no complaints, rarely occur unspecific symptoms such as headache, dizziness or nosebleeds.
Lower high blood pressure
High blood pressure is when one or both blood pressure values are permanently over 140/90 mmHg. The higher the pressure in the blood vessels, the higher the risk of consequential damage to organs such as kidney, eyes, heart or brain. The good news is that treatment with medication is not always necessary. Often a change in lifestyle is enough to normalize blood pressure. We give you 10 tips on how to lower your blood pressure with simple measures.
1. Eat Mediterranean
A well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains has a positive effect on your health in many ways. Studies have shown that Mediterranean cuisine in particular has a hypotensive and vascular protective effect. Through a varied diet with fish, seafood, poultry, vegetables, salad and olive oil, you can counteract high blood pressure in a pleasurable way.
2. Use spices instead of salt
Salt affects the function of the vessel walls, so that increased salt content in the blood can lead to a narrowing of the vessels. Therefore, a high-salt diet for hypertension should be avoided. Generally it is recommended to take no more than six grams of salt a day. However, this value is slightly exceeded as salt is hidden in many foods, especially ready meals, sausages and meats. You should therefore cook for yourself and use spices and fresh herbs to refine them: not only are they healthier, they are also more aromatic than salt.
3. Reduce overweight
Obesity promotes the development of high blood pressure, because fat cells can form a precursor of the hormone angiotensin, which causes a narrowing of the vessels. By losing two kilograms, you can lower your blood pressure by about three mmHg, and with a weight loss of ten kilograms, your blood pressure drops by up to 20 mmHg.
Sport has a double positive effect on high blood pressure: On the one hand, regular exercise helps to reduce overweight. On the other hand, the state of arousal of the autonomic nervous system at rest decreases due to physical activity, as a result of which the vessels expand and the blood pressure is lowered.
Recommended are endurance sports such as cycling, swimming or hiking. On the other hand, overexertion or abrupt stress should be avoided as it increases blood pressure. Thus, intensive strength training or rowing for people with high blood pressure rather unsuitable. If you have not exercised for a long time, you should talk to your doctor before starting to exercise.
In chronic stress, the autonomic nervous system is permanently overactivated and it produces more stress hormones such as cortisone and adrenaline: both leads to an increase in blood pressure. Therefore, blood pressure patients should actively work against stress. Try it out, which is the best way to switch off. Whether a leisurely walk, yoga, relaxation techniques such as autogenic training or a good book: anything is allowed that is fun.
6. Stop smoking
Nicotine stimulates the autonomic nervous system, thereby increasing blood pressure. In addition, smoking promotes the development of arteriosclerosis and thrombosis. Although weaning is often difficult, eliminating nicotine can lower your blood pressure and significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. (12 tips for smoking cessation)
7. Now and then a glass of wine
Not only smoking, but also the consumption of alcohol causes a stimulation of the autonomic nervous system and can thus increase the blood pressure. However, moderate alcohol consumption does not seem to have a negative effect on high blood pressure. From time to time a glass of wine is allowed. Red wine should also protect the vessels by containing polyphenols.
8. Eat more nuts
Nuts have two advantages: Firstly, they are rich in unsaturated fatty acids, which have a positive effect on blood pressure and blood lipid levels. On the other hand, they contain a lot of magnesium. By eating nuts regularly, you can help meet your daily magnesium needs and prevent shortages. Studies have shown that magnesium deficiency promotes hypertension: thus, nuts can help lower high blood pressure.
9. Test acupuncture
Some studies have suggested that acupuncture can counteract high blood pressure. If the corresponding points on the inside of the wrist are punctured, certain messenger substances in the brain should be released, which have a calming effect on the cardiovascular system. Since the treatment has virtually no side effects, acupuncture is a low-risk method to lower high blood pressure without medication.
10. Activate the "cuddle hormone"
A happy relationship and a fulfilling sexuality are good for soul and body. During physical contact and during sex, the "cuddle hormone" oxytocin is secreted, which lowers the cortisol level in the blood and the blood pressure. Take some time for a little togetherness!