Lifestyle tips to help your blood pressure

Hypertension is a condition in which there is increase in pressure in your blood vessels. It is measured in two numbers – Systolic (Top) and Diastolic (Bottom). Pressure more than 130/80 is considered high and need to be controlled to prevent various potential complications.


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Following are the lifestyle tips that may help to keep your blood pressure in normal range:


Diet:


Sodium tends to elevate the blood pressure. Limiting sodium intake to less than 2.3 grams (approximately 1 teaspoon) a day should help lower the blood pressure

Diet rich in fruits, veggies & low-fat dairy products (DASH diet) have shown to reduce the blood pressure as they are rich in potassium (which counters the effect of sodium), magnesium, calcium and nitrates.


Limit coffee intake to 1 or 2 servings per day


Limit alcohol intake to two drinks or less per day (for men) and one drink or less per day (for women). Red wine especially may have some beneficial effects due to polyphenols which are produced during the fermentation process which includes the grape skin, seeds and stems packed with such polyphenols.


If you are a chocolate lover like me, good for you! Dark chocolate (with 70% cocoa) may help lower your blood pressure


Dietary fibers at least 30 grams a day may help as well


Weight loss if you are overweight or obese should significantly lower your blood pressure


Exercise:


Moderate intensity aerobic exercise for at least 150 minutes per week should help significantly


Mind body therapies:


Mind body therapies such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, biofeedback techniques have shown to have positive impact on the blood pressure


Avoid over the counter medications or supplements that may increase your blood pressure:


Be careful with over-the-counter medications like NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen etc.), some decongestants (like pseudoephedrine), energy drinks, pre work out supplements (containing high amounts of caffeine) and some herbs (gingko, ginseng etc.) as they may increase your blood pressure.


Dietary supplements:


Fish oil, Co Q 10 and magnesium supplements may have favorable effects. Ask your doctor before taking any supplements as some of them may have undesirable impact on your blood pressure.


When lifestyle measures fail to control your blood pressure, you may need appropriate medicines to lower the blood pressure. In that case, regular follow up with your doctor and adhering to the treatment plan is vital for your health!


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