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3 Super Simples Ways to Healthier Blood Pressure

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure, ideally 120/80, is vital to good vascular health. “Keeping blood pressure numbers where they need to be lowers your risk of stroke,” says Dr. Eugene Tanquilut. “Often, patients are told as numbers are getting higher that they will soon require medication - or an increase in medication already being taken. Many patients would like to lower their blood pressure without meds, or would like to reduce medication doses.”

Dr. Tanquilut recommends patients try three simple tips to see great success in reducing or eliminating the need for medications. 

DASH it all!

The Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, or the DASH diet, enables people to eat delicious foods that are rich in magnesium, calcium and potassium, all nutrients that naturally help control blood pressure. In fact, when people enjoy the DASH diet, blood pressure can drop significantly in just two weeks. As an added bonus, DASH also lowers your LDL or “bad” cholesterol. A typical day’s menu can include a breakfast of:

For lunch, you can enjoy:

Make a delicious dinner of:

Plug in!

Are you a music fan? Moving becomes a joy when you listen along. Turn on dance music while you cook, clean a closet or mow the lawn and you’ll find your body moving differently. You’ll notice your hips swaying, your feet tapping and your arms swinging, all of which gets your blood pumping more vigorously through your vascular system. Your blood vessels will become more flexible, preventing arteriosclerosis and clotting.

Prefer podcasts? There’s informational podcasts for any interest or passion - history, comedy, art, politics, story telling - and more, more, more. Cue one up, notice how long it is and start walking! When you’re halfway through the podcast, turn around and head back to your starting location. No matter how slowly you walk, you’ll be moving - and you’ll barely notice because you’ll be entertained and informed the entire time. Bonus - you’ll learn interesting things to discuss with friends and family. 

Relax meaningfully

Stressing about your blood pressure really doesn’t help - and actually causes your body to produce a variety of hormones that raise your blood pressure even more. Dr. Tanquilut understands that telling patients to “just relax” doesn’t help much. “Most people don’t understand that relaxing doesn’t mean laying on the couch watching TV. Meaningful relaxation happens when you listen to your body, understand when you are holding tension and then using tools to let go of that tension.”

Dr. Tanquilut recommends doing yoga, either in classes or with online instruction. Deep breathing, inhaling to fill your lungs completely to a count of 5, holding the breath for 5 and then exhaling to a count of 5, helps relax the body and calm the mind. 

Hobbies such as gardening, putting puzzles together or woodworking can help focus the mind and soothe the soul. 

There are, of course, many other blood pressure benefits to following these three tips. For example, the DASH diet also helps you cut back on salt. Plugging in means you’ll you burn more calories each day, helping you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Healthy relaxation means better sleep each night, important for blood pressure management, as stress hormone production is lowered. 

“Controlling and lowering blood pressure isn’t something you can do overnight, but with these three simple steps, you can make significant improvements in about two weeks,” says Dr. Tanquilut. 

If you have questions about your blood pressure or your vascular health, just call 815-824-4406. Vascular Specialists will be happy to help. 

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