Reviewed by: Dr. Qanissa Afianti Razzqy Published: Apr 7, 2021 Updated: Apr 7, 2021
If you’ve ever wondered about how to reduce high blood pressure, you’ve come to the right place.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common health problem in Singapore. As many as 1 in 4 Singaporeans between the age of 30 to 69 years have hypertension. The older you are, the more likely you are to have hypertension.
According to a 2010 study by Singapore Heart Foundation, the prevalence of hypertension increased from age 40 onwards. More than half (53.4%) of the elderly aged 60 to 69 years had hypertension.
Dubbed as the “silent killer”, high blood pressure is a troubling affliction as it leads to many other diseases and complications like diabetes, high cholesterol, and cerebrovascular diseases, such as stroke and aneurysm.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Occasionally, you may have headaches or giddiness when the hypertension is severe. However, these symptoms are not specific to hypertension; they are also present in other diseases.
Sometimes, hypertension is only discovered when complications set in, for example, a stroke or heart attack.
The good news is that if you are diagnosed with hypertension, your doctor will prescribe you the appropriate medications. It’s often quite effective, but you can’t just rely on drugs to get better. The diagnosis is also a wake-up call for you to improve your lifestyle.
How to Reduce High Blood Pressure Naturally at Home?
You’d be surprised how little effort it will take you to improve your blood pressure, right from the comfort of your own home (or neighbourhood).
In general, to reduce high blood pressure you will need to:
- Increase physical activity and exercise regularly
- Eat food with less sugar, salt and refined carbohydrates
- Cut out processed foods
- Reduce stress
- Stop smoking
If you haven’t exercised in a long time (or downright dislike it), don’t sweat it. You don’t need to rush to the nearest gym and sign up for a year-long package. You just need to start being more physically active. Walk more, take the stairs, buy a bicycle, go for a hike, anything that will get your heart rate up.
A change in diet will also make a huge difference. As you may know, there is plenty of food that might taste incredibly delicious but are actually hazardous for your health in the long run.
While being more active and eating better will go a long way, you’ll still need to fix that other “silent killer” – stress. There are a thousand and one things that may contribute to your stress.
It could be having to spend long hours at work, a terrible boss or colleague, a lover’s spat, family problems, financial difficulties, or even the thought of another lockdown due to yet another COVID-19 re-infection in your community.
Regardless of the source of your stress, knowing how to manage it can improve your overall state of health by leaps and bounds.
Finally, if you’re still smoking, now is a good time to quit. You won’t see the consequences of inhaling the hundreds of chemicals found in cigarettes but by the time you see it, it might already be too late. By stopping smoking, you’ll drastically reduce the chances of clogged arteries and blood vessels, which would have directly contributed to high blood pressure.
4 Foods to Reduce High Blood Pressure
Now, we know Singaporeans love to eat. And this might arguably the toughest part of the lifestyle change you’ll need to make to reduce your hypertension. This is why we’ve included four high impact food suggestions – based on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet – in our list:
1. High protein food
Eat nuts, seeds, or legumes (beans or peas) daily. Choose modest amounts of protein (no more than 18% of total daily calories). Fish, skinless poultry, and soy products are the best protein sources.
2. Garlic (or garlic supplements)
Some research suggests that garlic increases the body’s production of nitric oxide, which helps the smooth muscles to relax and the blood vessels to dilate. These changes can reduce hypertension. One study reported that garlic extract reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive people.
3. Dark chocolate
A study found that dark chocolate, the kind that contains at least 50 to 70 percent cocoa, lowered blood pressure in all participants, but most notably in those with hypertension.
If you already have high blood pressure, eating more whole-grain foods might help lower your blood pressure. The DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet both recommend including whole grains as part of a healthy diet.
According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Eating just one daily serving of whole grains may help prevent high blood pressure – and more servings could slash your risk even further.
If you’re unfamiliar with the DASH diet, here is a useful infographic to explain the different food types and daily recommended servings:
3 Easy Exercises to Reduce High Blood Pressure
Eating well is important but keeping fit and exercising will be just as crucial to keep your blood pressure at healthy levels.
The good news is you don’t necessarily need to join a gym or have a fully equipped fitness room at home to workout. There are plenty that you can do at home without breaking bank. Here are 3 easy exercises you can do to reduce high blood pressure:
- Brisk walking
- Desk treadmilling or pedal pushing
- Resistance bands
As you can see in this article, it doesn’t take a lot of effort and resources to reduce your hypertension. You’d be surprised how quickly you’ll get better with just some tweaks to your lifestyle.