Lifestyle Steps to Lower Your Blood Pressure
How can I lower or prevent high blood pressure?
Follow the guidelines below to help lower or prevent high blood pressure, also called hypertension.
Maintain a healthy body weight If you are overweight, losing as few as 10 pounds may lead to a meaningful drop in high blood pressure. Medicine for high blood pressure may also work better after weight loss. If you have high blood pressure, it is very important to discuss these lifestyle and diet changes with your doctor. These changes can affect your blood pressure so your DOCTOR may need to adjust your blood pressure medicine.
Do not smoke Smoking cigarettes does not cause high blood pressure. However, smoking increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, and may make your blood pressure lowering medicine less effective. If you smoke, try to quit on your own or with the support of a group, or ask your doctor for help. Reduce your stress How you handle stress can affect your blood pressure. Ask your doctor for help if you have problems managing the stress in your life.
Enjoy active living Regular exercise can lower blood pressure in some people. It can also help with weight control, lowering cholesterol, and stress management. Choose an activity you enjoy such as walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming. Start slowly, and gradually work your way up to four or more 30-60 minute sessions of moderate exercise each week. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Lower your salt intake Eating less salt and other sources of dietary sodium can help some people lower their blood pressure. You can lower your sodium intake by eating less canned, processed, and fast foods – these account for most of the sodium we eat. Not adding salt to foods while cooking or at the table helps too. Can other foods help to lower or prevent high blood pressure? Probably. Researchers have thought for some time that foods high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium can help lower blood pressure. A large study called DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) found that eating a certain way could lower blood pressure as much as taking blood pressure-lowering medicine. A later study that combined the DASH diet with a lowered sodium intake resulted in even greater blood pressure reductions. The diet in the DASH study: Was lower in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol compared to a typical diet Was higher in fibre compared to a typical diet Included lots of vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products Was moderate in meat, fish and poultry; and Included nuts, seeds, and legumes several times a week. Researchers could not say which nutrients or foods led to the greatest lowering of blood pressure. However, the overall diet did lead to lower blood pressure. Also, the DASH way of eating is a balanced, healthy way of eating for everyone whether you have high blood pressure or not.
Limit alcohol High amounts of alcohol can increase your blood pressure. You may choose to avoid alcohol altogether. Discuss this with your doctor. If you have high blood pressure and you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Limit alcohol intake to: - no more than 2 drinks on any given day - no more than 14 drinks a week for men - no more than 9 drinks a week for women
1 drink is equal to: 1.5 oz liquor (40% alcohol) 5 oz wine 12 oz beer 3 oz sherry or port
(50 mL) (150 mL) (375 mL) (85 mL)
The DASH Way of Eating
Food Group Daily 1 Servings
Serving Sizes 1 slice bread 3 1 oz dry cereal ½ cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta 1 cup raw leafy vegetable ½ cup cut-up raw or cooked vegetable ½ cup vegetable juice 1 medium piece of fruit ¼ cup dried fruit ½ cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit ½ cup fruit juice 1 cup milk 1 cup yogurt 1 ½ oz cheese 1 oz cooked meats, poultry or fish 4 1 egg 1 ½ oz or 1/3 cup nuts ½ oz or 2 Tbsp seeds ½ cup cooked legumes (dry beans and peas) 2 Tbsp peanut butter 1 tsp soft margarine 1...
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