What can you do to avoid or reduce the need for medication?
Get regular exercise
Regular physical activity – as little as 30 minutes on average most days of the week – will help to lower your blood pressure by about 5-8 mm Hg.
How can you achieve this? It's easy, because you don't necessarily need to go to the gym. You can lower your blood pressure with a few simple forms of exercise: walking, jogging, cycling or swimming. Interval or variable-intensity training is all the rage in the professional world. You can easily incorporate this into your exercise routine by alternating running and walking (e.g. after 5 minutes of running, you can add 10 minutes of walking, then run intensively again, or you can interrupt the walking with various stretches, squats, jumping in place).
As in all cases, gradualness is important. If you have already developed high blood pressure, it is a good idea to consult your doctor before you start exercising, and to seek professional help in developing an exercise programme.
Try to establish a weekly routine, because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure may slowly rise again and the unpleasant symptoms will return to your daily life.
Strive to eat healthier
A diet rich in oilseeds, fruits, vegetables, cold-pressed oils and low-fat products can reduce blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg in people with high blood pressure.
Changing your eating habits is not easy, but there are a few things that can help:
- Keep a food diary. Write down and keep track of when, what and how much you eat. Even if you only keep a week's worth of notes, it can help you a lot in identifying your eating problems. We tend to trivialise our eating habits, but this diary can hold up a mirror to help you see what you need to change most and what new habits you need to develop.
- Aim for regular consumption of high-potassium vegetables and fruits (e.g. red berries, bananas, spinach, radishes). Why? A diet low in potassium is also a risk factor for high blood pressure. Muscle cramps can also be caused by a potassium deficiency, and taking diuretics can exacerbate a potassium deficiency in the body. But it's important to know that you can't simply solve the issue with dietary supplements. The way our bodies work is more complex than you might think. Everything is interconnected: for example, increasing your potassium intake also increases the excretion of magnesium from your body. So the best thing you can do is to make a real effort to eat high-potassium vegetables and fruits every day.
- Be a conscious shopper. Make a shopping list to save yourself from impulse buying and temptation. I recommend reading the label on the products before adding them to your basket. Avoid foods that are high in sugar or over-salted, and foods with lots of additives.
Reduce sodium intake
Indeed, stopping excessive salt intake improves heart function and can lower blood pressure by up to 5-6 mm Hg.
This does not mean that you should eat only bland-tasting food, but moderation is the key here too. What really puts you at risk is the high sodium (salt) content of pre-packaged foods, so avoid things like salted nuts, crisps, packaged meat products, canned products, boxed vegetable juices, microwave pizzas and instant soups. Canned and jarred tomato products are also high in salt.
Don't just use salt, but also herbs, so less salt will be enough to achieve a pleasant taste. But don't be too afraid of salt – it's something your body needs, but in moderation.
Control your alcohol intake
Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. Spirits are a serious health risk, so avoid drinking them, but a glass of red wine a day with a meal can potentially reduce high blood pressure by around 4 mm Hg.
Of course, this beneficial effect no longer applies if you drink too much wine, and can even be reversed!
You might not realise it, but every cigarette you smoke will cause your blood pressure to rise for a few minutes. Stopping smoking altogether can help to normalise your blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease (arterial stenosis) and improve your overall health, as smoking increases the body's need for vitamin C, which can lead to deficiencies and weakened immunity over time.
Consume less caffeine
The effects of caffeine on blood pressure continue to be debated by experts. For people who rarely consume caffeine, drinking a coffee can raise blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg.
If you regularly consume caffeine, you should test its effects on your body. Measure your blood pressure 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after drinking your coffee or any caffeinated drink. If you notice a marked difference between the two results, you should consider cutting caffeine out of your life.
Chronic stress can certainly contribute to high blood pressure, especially if you try to relieve the symptoms of mental stress by smoking, snacking or drinking alcohol!
Take time each day to think about what may be causing you to feel stressed. Work, family, finances, certain people? Once you've identified what might be behind your anxious moments, face it head on and try to find a solution to relieve or eliminate the stress.
What can you do about stress?
- Change your expectations. Plan your days and focus on your priorities. Try to avoid situations where you feel you have taken on too much. When necessary, say no!
- Communicate. Open and honest communication is the foundation of everything. That's why it's important not to keep things to yourself that cause you frustration. Anticipate situations with preparation, be flexible in your communication, open to others' points of view and understanding. If the other party experiences this on your part, it is very likely to prevent any unpleasant misunderstandings, resentments or attacks. If you can't reason with someone – even though you've done your best – and they refuse to change, then dare to break off the relationship, or change jobs if necessary.
- Try to avoid stress triggers. For example, if the afternoon rush hour always makes you nervous, try to leave work early or spend the time travelling on useful learning activities (language learning, listening to self-development materials) so that it is not such a useless pastime and you can develop a positive attitude towards it. If you can, avoid people who cause you stress. You don't have to be on good terms with everyone, because it's the need to please that causes the most stress.
- Always make time to relax! It is worth taking some time each day to meditate. You can find many breathing exercises on the internet, which can also help you to reduce your daily stress. You just need to sit and breathe. Sounds simple, doesn't it? And believe me, it's not only simple, it's also extremely effective! Schedule some me-time into your weekly routine, when you can focus solely on yourself. Have a hobby that can help you switch off. Create something, walk, cook, volunteer.
Eat Topform, Purfit products
InnoFit Topform contains ingredients such as beetroot, blackcurrant, sea buckthorn, rosehip, red grape seeds, cranberries and blueberries, among others. Purfit contains blueberries, blackcurrant and elderberries. The colouring agents (flavonoids) found in the fruit, such as anthocyanins, which give blueberries their bluish-purple colour, have a number of beneficial properties, the most important of which is their antioxidant activity.
For a long time, researchers have attributed mainly preventive effects to fruits, which were considered a major source of flavonoids, but now they have also been shown to have health-promoting, healing and anti-inflammatory benefits. Most recently, for example, an experiment at Florida State University has confirmed the beneficial effects of blueberries, showing that it helps blood circulation and reduces high blood pressure.
High-quality, varied and delicious nutrition is simple and easy to achieve 365 days a year with Topform and Purfit.