Hypertension is commonly known as a silent killer because it is a disease you can have and never realize until it is too late. However, maintaining healthy blood pressure readings is sometimes just a matter of choosing the right diet and following a consistent exercise routine. That’s why cardiologists usually prescribe diet and exercise to control high blood pressure.
One would wonder how is high blood pressure associated with diet and exercise, and why is it possible to treat mild cases of hypertension with lifestyle modifications instead of drugs. That’s why we will cover this topic in the following paragraphs.
The connection between diet and hypertension
There is a strong link between what you eat and your blood pressure readings, and that is because your body and your metabolism work depending on what you introduce in your body as food and nutrients. Therefore, if you choose healthy and highly nutritious foods, your body will respond by completing all of the queued metabolic tasks.
On the contrary, if you overload your body with fatty foods and too much salt, they will become a bit of a nuisance and start hindering normal body processes.
The optimal diet for people with hypertension is a diet that is low in sodium intake. Sodium is found in table salt, but it’s also included in many commercial blends and seasonings. Bacon, caviar, pizza, pre-cooked foods, and some types of cheese and ham contain too much sodium and should be avoided.
In your body, sodium concentration is deeply associated with water. In simple words, sodium drags along water molecules to any compartment in the body. Thus, more sodium in your blood would increase blood volume by dragging more water in, and more volume of liquid moving in the same limited space leads to hypertension.
Why is exercise prescribed to lower your blood pressure?
Another helpful tool to reduce high blood pressure is exercise. By increasing your physical activity, you will not only improve your blood pressure level but reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, which is already higher in hypertensive patients compared to the average.
Regular physical activity increases your heartbeat, and it is an excellent exercise for your heart. In time, your heart will be able to pump more blood, and your arteries won’t become forced to keep up with high blood pressure to deliver oxygen. In other words, by improving the fitness of your heart, the circulation of blood will become easier, and your blood pressure will drop.
In some cases, diet and physical activity are enough to normalize blood pressure readings. You might not need medications to lower your blood pressure, but it is still recommended to talk to your doctor and follow his instructions even if you do not experience any symptoms at all.