Need to lower high blood pressure but don’t want to rely on drugs?

First of all, exercise more. For sedentary people with high blood pressure (hypertension), just 10 minutes of walking can reduce blood pressure. Imagine the effect that a regular exercise regimen will have on high blood pressure. Make sure you get clearance form your physician for strength training, as this has the potential for raising blood pressure.

Another way to manage hypertension is to make the following changes in your eating habits:

  • Grains and grain products for fiber and energy. Modification: whole-grain, low-sodium cereal mixes from the health food store rather than name-brand conventional cereals with added sugar.
  • Fruits and vegetables for potassium, magnesium and fiber.
  • Low-fat or no-fat dairy for calcium and protein. Modification: all-natural yogurt with live-culture bacteria (“healthy” bacteria!) and no artificial sweeteners.
  • Lean meats, poultry and fish for protein and magnesium. Modification: meats from grass-fed, rather than grain-fed, animals, wild salmon, not farm-raised.
  • Legumes, nuts and seeds for energy magnesium, potassium, protein and fiber. Modification: minimally processed nuts, preferably raw.
  • Fats and oils – unsaturated only, such as olive and safflower: always great for cardiovascular health.

Results from walking
A walking program must be progressive. This means that every walking session must demand effort. As fitness increases, the intensity level must also rise to challenge that new level of fitness. And these won’t increase in the first place unless the person performs at a level that requires unprecedented effort. Ultimately, many walkers graduate to jogging because hard-paced walking no longer challenges their systems.

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