What are the 8 top tips to manage your blood pressure? Let’s talk about it.
Your blood pressure is influenced by the health of your heart, how much inflammation is going on in your body, and the elasticity. Your hypothalamus controls your blood pressure through the production of vasopressin and through the control of adrenal aldosterone.
Normal blood pressure is under 130 over 80 mm Hg. Anything above that is considered high. It’s vital that you manage your blood pressure in order to avoid cardiovascular diseases, like heart attacks and strokes.
Here’s my top Eight tips to help manage your blood pressure:
#1 Support Your Hypothalamus
Your hypothalamus is a critical blood pressure regulatory center. Both high and low blood pressure are a sign of hypothalamic dysregulation. Your hypothalamus controls your autonomic nervous system – activating the sympathetic nervous system when it perceives an internal or external threat. Because your hypothalamus is not protected by the blood-brain barrier it receives information from the rest of the body and your environment.
Your hypothalamus is particularly sensitive to serum electrolytes. It controls the release of vasopressin when sodium levels are off and orchestrates the adrenals’ production of aldosterone when potassium levels are off. Your clock genes reside in your hypothalamic neurons which control your circadian rhythm and contribute significantly to blood pressure control. Supporting your hypothalamus nutraceutically helps maintain its optimal function to decrease inflammation and control sympathetic nervous system response that can help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
#2 Lose Weight
As your weight increases your blood pressure can increase. And being overweight can disrupt your sleeping because it disrupts your breathing which will further increase your blood pressure. Weight loss is the most effective way to control your blood pressure. Even a small amount of weight loss like 5% of your weight can make a big difference in your blood pressure. The size of your waistline is really important. It’s not just about your total pounds. It’s about how many inches you’re measuring around your waist. Men are at greater risk for metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure if the waist measurement is greater than 40 inches. Women are at greater risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches.
#3 Exercise Regularly
Being sedentary is as dangerous as smoking. Regular exercise lowers blood pressure by five to eight millimeters of mercury. You must keep exercising to keep your blood pressure from rising again. If you already have hypertension or high blood pressure, regular exercise can help bring it down. A good goal is at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day. Now aerobic exercise includes anything that elevates your heart rate like swimming, cycling, running, rowing, jogging, dancing. Strength training can also help to reduce your blood pressure – aim for at least two days a week.
#4 Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
A plant-based diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables with moderate unsaturated fats with an adequate amount of protein can help to lower your blood pressure by up to 11 millimeters of mercury. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan consists of a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods; includes meat, fish, poultry, nuts, and beans; and is limited in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, red meat, and added fats.
You might also need to reduce the sodium in your diet. Some people are very salt sensitive so if you notice that your blood pressure is high when you eat salty foods, you may have a sensitivity to salt. Limit your sodium intake to about 2300 milligrams per day or less. If you have high blood pressure, we’re looking at 1500 milligrams per day. Read your food labels. Avoid processed foods and do not add salt. If you cook your own food you can better control how much salt is going into the food.
#5 Drink Alcohol and Caffeine in Moderation
Excessive amounts of alcohol can increase blood pressure, but a moderate amount of alcohol which is one drink for women and two drinks for men per day can help lower blood pressure. Red wine particularly is good at helping to reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure.
Coffee, tea, and dark chocolate in moderation have all been shown to reduce cardiovascular inflammation and help control blood pressure.
#6 Quit Smoking
Absolutely if you smoke, you need to quit. Nicotine is a stimulant that raises blood pressure. And smoking anything can cause cardiopulmonary inflammation that can raise blood pressure. Stopping smoking lowers blood pressure, reduces your risk for heart disease, improves your overall health, and increases your longevity.
#7 Get a Good Night’s Sleep
If your sleep is poor quality, you will suffer from systemic inflammation. You need at least 7-9 hours of deep sleep with REM sleep to stay optimally healthy. During sleep, your hypothalamus directs your immune system to clean house which decreases inflammation in your body.
Make sure your sleep space is restful. Be sure you’re sleeping in the dark. Avoid being exposed to digital screens before going to bed. Avoid eating or drinking heavily before going to sleep. And make sure you’re not taking naps during the day so you can sleep more deeply at night.
#8 Learn Stress Reduction Techniques
Stress increases your blood pressure by increasing adrenaline and cortisol. Over time cortisol is incredibly inflammatory and can cause an increase in your blood pressure by increasing inflammatory cytokines in the cardiovascular system and causing inflammation of the blood vessels. Remember your hypothalamus controls your stress responses through the HPA axis. Supporting your hypothalamus with Genesis Gold® helps mitigate your stress response to maintain healthy blood pressure.
Checking your blood pressure regularly at home and getting regular checkups with your healthcare provider can really help you to understand what’s going on with your blood pressure. It’s important to understand what triggers hypertension – what you eat and drink, how much sleep you get, you sedentary you are, and how stressed you are.
Some people have white coat syndrome which means that they get a little nervous going into the doctor’s office and their blood pressure raises. While mercury sphygmomanometers are the gold standard for measuring blood pressure, a digital cuff can work. Just be sure it’s one that measures your upper arm and check it with your health care provider’s sphygmomanometer to be sure it’s reading your blood pressure accurately.
If you have any questions regarding managing your blood pressure, please join me in our Hormone Support Group. You can get access by signing up for my free Hormone Reboot Training.
Hypothalamic and inflammatory basis of hypertension; Sinan Khor and Dongsheng Cai; Clin Sci (Lond). 2017 Feb 1; 131(3): 211–223
Prevention and Control of Hypertension: JACC Health Promotion Series; Robert M. Carey, MD,a Paul Muntner, PhD,b Hayden B. Bosworth, PhD,c and Paul K. Whelton, MB, MD, MScd; J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018 Sep 11; 72(11): 1278–1293.