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Deaths attributed to high blood pressure or hypertension have increased 11% above normal in 2020, according to statistics from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. That’s more than the increase in deaths from pneumonia and flu, coronary heart disease, and stroke, according to The New York Times. New York City had a whopping 39% increase in deaths caused by hypertension, with 1,000 fatalities above normal.

According to Eat This, Not That!, one of the most important things you can do to treat hypertension is to get a good night’s sleep.

“Many studies have shown there is a correlation between poor sleep and hypertension,” said Dr. Sheldon Zablow, author of “Your Vitamins Are Obsolete. An extreme example most people are aware of is that people with sleep apnea almost always have high blood pressure.”

Here are some other ways to lower blood pressure naturally:

  1. Consume more fiber
    According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of TV’s “The Dr. Oz Show,” the foods you eat can have a positive effect on keeping your blood pressure within the current guidelines of 120/80 mm Hg, as set by the American Heart Association. Oz says that eating foods like beans, 100% whole wheat or bran products, green beans, potatoes, cauliflower, or nuts helps balance the gut biome, which in turn produces fatty acids that reduce cardiovascular problems such as blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and atherosclerosis. Insoluble fiber also adds bulk to stool and helps food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines, protecting your heart from high blood pressure.
  2. Lower your sodium intake
    Dr. Robert Greenfield, co-founder of California Heart Associates in Orange County, California, advises consuming no more than 2.3 grams of sodium daily, according to Eat This, Not That! The average American consumes almost four times that amount.
  3. Medications:
    Watch your medications. Some over-the-counter medications such as decongestants can raise blood pressure. Herbal supplements may also trigger high blood pressure, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Arnica, commonly used as a topical pain reducer, is toxic to the heart and can raise blood pressure if taken internally. Ginseng is thought to increase sexual performance but also causes hypertension. Ephedra, used for weight loss, can cause dangerous and even life-threatening increases in heart rate and hypertension.
  4. Exercise
    Dynamic aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, swimming, and bicycling has been scientifically shown to reduce hypertension. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise weekly.
  5. Limit alcohol.
    Dr. Lisa Ravindra, M.D., says many studies have found that drinking excessively leads to chronic hypertension, according to Eat This, Not That! That means no more than one drink daily for women and no more than two drinks for men.
  6. Eat salmon.
    The American Heart Association recommends consuming fatty fish twice weekly. Studies have found that high omega-3 content may play a role in lowering blood pressure and targeting inflammation in the body. The AHA notes that salmon contains vitamin D, which “helps the body absorb calcium, protects against depression, and regulates blood pressure,” according to their website. Taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements may also help.

This story first appeared at NewsmaxHealth.

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