Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a medical condition that is thought to affect around a third of all adults in the UK. It occurs when the pressure in your blood vessels is unusually high

This means that the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body. Over time this puts extra strain on the heart as well as other organs and the blood vessels and can cause damage.

It is also a factor in many serious health conditions and illnesses, including heart disease, kidney disease, strokes, heart failure and heart attacks.

While your risk can be raised by factors that are out of our control such as genetics and age, your blood pressure is often affected by certain lifestyle changes.

With this in mind, an expert spoke with Express.co.uk about four natural ways to lower your blood pressure.

According to Walter Gjergja, co-founder and chief wellness officer at Zing Coach, you can help lower your blood pressure with:

  • Regular exercise
  • Changing unhealthy habits
  • Diet
  • Love and laughter.

Regular exercise

Specifically, Walter recommended “at least” 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise every week, in line with NHS guidelines.

“Start out with low-impact exercises such as walking, hiking, swimming, and cycling that reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health without stressing the joints,” he said.

“Exercising outdoors – if you are in a suitable environment – also has substantial additional benefits relating to sunlight, fresh air, and reconnection with nature.

“Yoga, tai chi and qi gong are also very helpful, combining harmonious movements that get the blood flowing with deep breathing techniques that lower stress hormones, to keep your body in perfect health.”

Changing unhealthy habits

Exercise is only half of the “recipe”, he said.

Walter explained: “No amount of walking or yoga can undo the damage that smoking does to your blood vessels, for instance.

“If you want to be truly healthy, you need to cut out any unhealthy vices that are undoing all of your positive efforts.

“That goes beyond cigarettes and alcohol — Even habits such as staying up late can cause blood pressure to skyrocket.

“Get to bed earlier and take some time to relax, using stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to help you fall asleep.

“Blood pressure decreases and normalises during rest, so aim for at least seven hours of quality sleep every night.”

Diet

Walter recommended sticking to The Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.

This diet emphasises fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy, while reducing intake of sodium — the single biggest cause of high blood pressure.

Walter said: “Aim for 2,300 milligrams of sodium or less and replace all those salty snacks with potassium-rich superfoods such as bananas, spinach, sweet potato, and avocado.

“But don’t just watch what you eat. Watch what you drink too. Limit alcohol consumption to no more than one drink a day for women and two per day for men, and ideally much less.

“Cut caffeine, which can cause blood pressure to spike, too. Opt for herbal teas instead, with a side of herbs and supplements — garlic, hibiscus, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which will reduce hypertension and keep your heart healthy.

“Nutrition is obviously correlated to weight, and being substantially overweight is strongly linked to a higher incidence of blood pressure issues, therefore in the longer term aim at adopting a nutritional plan that will keep your weight at a healthy range.”

Love and laughter

To sum up: be healthy, but don’t forget to be happy.

He added: “Give yourself time to live, spend time with loved ones, and laugh. Laughter has been shown to have positive effects on cardiovascular health by reducing stress, improving blood flow, and relaxing blood vessels.

“A little humour — whether through socialising, comedy shows, or specific laughter sessions — will also lift your mood, putting you in a positive frame of mind to work out.

“Pets have the same effect. They keep us serene, lower stress and improve our emotional well-being, leading to lower blood pressure readings.”

If you are concerned about your blood pressure you should speak to your GP.

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