Friday, June 3, 2011

5 Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

When considering factors that influence blood pressure, the most common variable that people talk about is salt intake. While it is true that sodium intake is a major predictor of blood pressure, and an easy way to help reduce it, there are a number of other ways you can help manage your blood pressure through lifestyle changes. Here are just a few.

1. Eat less red meat. Research has shown that the consumption of red meat can increase blood pressure levels by up to a third. Choosing lean sources of protein more often, like egg whites, white fish, pork, chicken or turkey breasts is a simple way to make sure you get enough protein each day.

2. Read (and understand) nutrition labels. More and more, people are learning the importance of reading food labels in addition to the meaning of the values. Check the sodium values (you want to aim for 2300 mg or less each day) in addition to the calories and fat.

3. Manage your weight. Checking food labels can really help with this crucial aspect of blood pressure reduction. If there's one thing you can do to significantly lower your blood pressure, it's to achieve a healthy body weight.

4. Reduce your fat intake. Particularly saturated and trans fats. You want to make sure you're getting enough healthy fats, and all fats in general, in your diet, however, you don't want to go overboard. You can help cut back on added fats by avoiding fried foods as often as possible, watching how much oil you use in your cooking and choosing lower fat alternatives for dairy in addition to condiments like salad dressings.

5. Make it from scratch. Preparing meals at home allows you to control exactly what you put in the recipe. This way, you can avoid relying on pre-made or packaged foods that might be high in sodium and unnatural additives.

Obviously, some changes are easier to make and some are more significant than others, but change begins with baby steps. Doing whatever you can do reduce your blood pressure can help you avoid or prevent potentially life threatening future complications, starting today.