3 Tips for Managing High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) is a common problem, affecting around 1 in 7 people worldwide. Your heart has to work harder than usual to push blood though your arteries, which can become narrower and less stretchy. This can strain your circulatory system and increase your risk of developing serious medical conditions like heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
Making these 3 simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can help you to manage your high blood pressure.
Get More Exercise
Ah, the dreaded 'E' word. For many of us, exercise can seem time-consuming and tedious, but it doesn't have to be!
Anything that raises your heart rate can be considered exercise. It doesn't have to be intense or tiring and you don't have to end up drenched in sweat. Going for a walk, doing the washing up and pottering about in the garden are all great examples of light-intensity exercises that can help lower your blood pressure. Regular exercise can also significantly lower your chances of having a stroke or heart attack. Aim to get at least one hour of light or moderate exercise daily.
Lower your Salt Intake
Salt can turn a bland meal into a tasty treat. Unfortunately, too much salt can raise your blood pressure to an unhealthy level. Consuming salt forces our body to pump water into the bloodstream, temporarily raising blood pressure. Over time, this change can become more permanent. If you have high blood pressure, you may need to lower the amount of salt you consume.
The terms salt and sodium are sometimes used interchangeably but they're slightly different compounds. One teaspoon of sodium is equal to two and a half teaspoons of salt, which has the chemical name sodium chloride. It's important to keep an eye on how much salt and sodium you're consuming in your diet, especially if you're worried about high blood pressure.
Many shop-bought foods are packed full of salt, even if they don't taste salty. Carefully read the nutrition labels on your food before tucking in to avoid going over your daily salt allowance. Only add salt to your food if you're within the daily recommended limits for your age, gender and health situation. It might not taste as good, but your health is always more important than a meal.
Increase your Potassium Intake
The kidneys help to regulate your blood pressure by pumping fluid in and out of your blood. They need potassium, sodium and other minerals to do this. Not having enough potassium in your diet can prevent your kidneys from lowering blood pressure back to a healthy level.
Potassium deficiency, known as hypokalemia, is extremely common. A majority of people worldwide aren't thought to be consuming their recommended daily amount of potassium, which is around 4,700 milligrams. A potassium deficiency may be aggravating your high blood pressure and making your symptoms worse.
Eating more potassium-rich foods is the best way to deal with this. Lots of fruits and vegetables like bananas, sweet potatoes and mushrooms are packed full of potassium and other essential nutrients the kidneys need to function. If, like most people, you're struggling to consume enough potassium in your diet, consider taking a potassium supplement.
- Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Reduce sodium in your diet.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
- Quit smoking. ...
- Cut back on caffeine.
- Reduce your stress.