Your blood pressure is a measurement of how hard your heart needs to beat to pump blood throughout your body. Causes of high blood pressure range from an unhealthy lifestyle to just plain bad genes. While you can’t control genes, you can change your habits and lower your blood pressure no matter what the cause. Consider the following tips to keep your blood pressure under control:

Lose weight

Since blood needs to nourish every cell in your body, the more cells you have, the harder your heart has to pump. By losing weight, you lower the amount of fat cells that need nourishment, thereby lowering your blood pressure. It doesn't take long to start seeing results, either; losing as little as 10 pounds can significantly lower your blood pressure.

Watch your waist

Your blood pressure isn't only dependent on how much you weigh; it’s also dependent on where you carry your weight. Generally, the larger your waist, the higher your blood pressure. Measure your waist; men’s should be less than 40 inches and women’s less than 35. If your waist is bigger, then getting rid of belly fat should be one of your primary concerns.

Eat less salt

High sodium diets are synonymous with high blood pressure. Blood pressure is so dependent upon sodium intake that even taking small steps to eat less salt can result in a 2-8 mmHg drop in blood pressure. You should eat less than 2,300 mg or less per day, however depending on your race, age, and overall health, you doctor may limit your sodium intake to 1,500 mg.

Eat more potassium

The interaction between sodium and potassium is what causes your muscles to contract or relax. Since your heart is a muscle, abnormal potassium levels can raise your blood pressure. Unless your potassium level is very low, you can usually increase it to a healthy level by eating more fruits and vegetables.

Drink less caffeine

Caffeine wakes you up, but it also increases your heart rate and blood pressure; in fact, people can experience a 10 mmHg jump in blood pressure after drinking caffeine. Since the affect is temporary, you don't have to eliminate coffee entirely; simply limit it to one or two cups in the morning.

Take your blood pressure medicine

Your doctor prescribed you blood pressure medicine to lower your blood pressure, but in order for it to work, you need to take it. Try not to miss any doses though, because not only will this raise your blood pressure, some drugs are dependent upon regular doses to be effective.


Not only does exercise help you lose weight, it also helps you lower your blood pressure. Exercising of 30 minuets every day can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 mmHg. You don't have to become a five star athlete either; activities such as bike riding or even walking are perfectly fine.

Lower stress

Your body is designed to help you survive, so it responds to stress by increasing blood flow to your muscles in anticipation of a “fight or flight” response. While this helped keep our caveman ancestors alive, most of us don't experience external stressors that require this response on a daily basis. Unfortunately, your body can’t tell what kind of stress you are under, and will react the same way if you are stressed about work or in a life or death situation. Try to engage in calming activities that lower your stress like, meditation or yoga.

Stop smoking

Chemicals found in cigarettes cause a temporary boost to your blood pressure, meaning that each cigarette you have increases your blood pressure slightly. While this wears off eventually, continually smoking throughout the day keeps your blood pressure elevated. In addition, the long-term damage cigarettes have on your heart and organs may increase your blood pressure over time.

Get help

Family and friends are great resources to turn to no matter how you are trying to lower your blood pressure. An exercise buddy will make sure that you don’t skip the gym, and a friend can “keep you honest” at a restaurant by reminding you not to eat a salty meal.

Author's Bio: 

I'm just your average hygienist with a passion for excellence. I do what I do best, which is to help my patients achieve healthy smiles and provide & educate them with oral health care solutions and lifelong cosmetic procedures.