Lowering Your Blood Pressure Naturally
If you have atrial fibrillation you already have one of the risk factors for cardiac disease and stroke, so it’s important to decrease other risk factors, including high blood pressure.
While high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is often managed with medications it is healthier for you to reduce blood pressure by natural means.
You can use these natural methods regardless or not you’re taking medications to fight hypertension. However, if are taking pharmaceuticals be sure to consult with a qualified health care provider.
Improve Your Diet
Losing excess weight is one of the most important things you can do to lower your blood pressure.
Lose weight by eating well and exercising more. A heart healthy diet is beneficial for your entire body, and everyone in the family will benefit from eating a low fat, high fiber diet that is rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains. These plant-based foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, enzymes and compounds that reduce blood pressure, prevent aging and enhance the health of your entire body. They are low in calories and provide good quality carbohydrates.
Consider the following tips for your diet:
- Obtain most of your protein from plant sources. Dried beans and peas are excellent options, as they are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, and will fill you up. Legumes are fat free and inexpensive. Eat them a couple of times each day.
- If you choose to eat meat, consume cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring. In addition to protein, these fish contain heart protective oils.
- Eat lean meats no more than a few times weekly. Avoid processed and fatty meats. Keep in mind that a serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards.
- You can obtain protein from dairy products. Choose low fat varieties of yogurt and cheese, keeping in mind hard cheeses generally contain less fat than soft cheeses. Pay attention to portion sizes. A one-ounce portion of cheese is equal to a block that measures one inch square.
- Avoid saturated fats and opt for healthier olive, canola or nut oils instead. Flax, hazelnut and walnut oils contain compounds that help to reduce high blood pressure. One tablespoonful of oil contains about 100 calories.
- Limit your intake of processed foods, which contain empty calories, unhealthy preservatives and other additives. If you use sweeteners, I recommend the use of small amounts of stevia, honey, or maple syrup over artificial ones. Artificial foods increase inflammation throughout your body. Inflammation is linked with high blood pressure and a wide array of other deleterious conditions.
- Limit your intake of salt. Salt makes your body retain fluid and increases your blood pressure. Read packaged food labels carefully as they often contain large amounts of salt.
- Keep alcohol intake to a minimum. While a glass of red wine does offer cardio protective benefits, too much alcohol stresses the body. Alcoholic beverages provide empty calories and excessive drinking stresses the entire body, harming the liver and consequently increasing blood pressure. Do not drink more than two servings of alcohol daily.
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