Maintaining a normal Blood Pressure (BP) requires some effort on your part, so we took the time to list a few fundamental steps you can take to keep your BP at a healthy level.
- Healthy dietCut down on the amount of salt in your food and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. The sodium in salt raises your blood pressure, so the more salt you consume, the higher your blood pressure. Aim to eat less than 6 grams of salt daily, which is about one teaspoonful. Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fiber, such as wholegrain rice, bread, and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables also helps lower blood pressure.
- Limit your alcohol intakeRegularly drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure over time. Staying within the recommended levels is the best way to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure. Both men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 bottles a week. Alcohol is also high in calories, which will make you gain weight and can further increase your blood pressure.
- Lose weightBeing overweight forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body, which can raise your blood pressure. If you do need to lose some weight, it’s worth remembering that just losing a few kilograms will make a big difference to your blood pressure and overall health.
- Get activeBeing active and taking regular exercise lowers blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition. Regular exercise can also help you lose weight, which will also help lower your blood pressure. Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or walking fast, every week. Physical activity can include anything from sports to walking and gardening.
- Cut down on caffeineDrinking more than 4 cups of coffee a day may increase your blood pressure. If you’re a big fan of coffee, tea, or other caffeine-rich drinks, such as cola and some energy drinks, consider cutting down. It’s fine to drink tea and coffee as part of a balanced diet, but it’s important that these drinks are not your main or only source of fluid.
- Stop smokingSmoking does not directly cause high blood pressure, but it puts you at a much higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Smoking, like high blood pressure, will cause your arteries to narrow. If you smoke and have high blood pressure, your arteries will narrow much more quickly, and your risk of heart or lung disease in the future is dramatically increased.