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10 Surprising Ways to Reduce Your Blood Pressure

Thursday, December 14, 2017 8:54 AM

Almost 70 million adults have high blood pressure in the United States – that’s about every 1 in 3 adults. Keeping your blood pressure in check is extremely important, but can seem like an overwhelming task. Brian Shortal, MD, Cardiologist at NorthShore, suggests these ways to lower and maintain your blood pressure:


  1. Know your numbers. Part of managing your blood pressure is knowing numbers such as BMI, weight and blood pressure. When you are tuned in to your body, it helps you notice how the changes you make have a direct effect on your health.
  2. Meditation. Whether you are a meditation newbie or an old pro, relaxing helps regulate your breathing, which gives a calming effect and releases stress.
  3. Walk it off. Exercising will help maintain your blood pressure. If you do not feel comfortable hitting the gym, start with walks around your neighborhood.
  4. Play with a pet. Whether you adopt a puppy or visit the zoo, studies have shown that interactions with animals help reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
  5. Kick the caffeine habit. Some people who have high blood pressure often find that overconsumption of coffee affects their numbers. Talk to your physician to see what they recommend about your caffeine intake.
  6. Volunteer. Studies have shown that volunteering not only feels good, but does the body good too. Volunteering helps release stress, boost endorphins and can keep you mentally stimulated. Look into your town hall, shelters, churches or other communities for opportunities.
  7. Eat more bananas. Most people with high blood pressure are told to limit their salt intake. Potassium is found to lessen the effects of sodium in the blood. Your physician can help you find the right level of potassium for your diet, which can be achieved through your diet and multi-vitamins.
  8. Get enough sleep. Sleep has many health benefits, with one of them being stress reduction. Go to bed earlier to get a restful night of sleep.
  9. Schedule “me” time. Yes, schedule it as an appointment…with yourself. You need some time for you with no distractions or obligations.
  10. Practice gratitude. Expressing gratitude can and will help ease stress in the long run. Start with one act of gratitude a week and it will soon come naturally.

If you are still having trouble bringing your blood pressure down to a more normal level, talk with your physician about what you can do.

What surprising tricks have you found to help reduce your blood pressure?