I have to admit that I don’t take my own high blood pressure seriously enough. I have had for so long that I don’t even think about any more. I take my medication and when I go for my regular check-up with my GP, he tells me, big surprise, I have high blood pressure, but I’m still here, so what’s all the fuss about hypertension? High blood pressure is more serious than you think, it may not affect your day-today life and you probably don’t even notice any symptoms, but it can lead to serious illnesses including heart attack, strokes, kidney failure and dementia. So, if you want to do something about your hypertension, here are ten ways that you can bring your blood pressure down.
1. Lose some weight
The first piece of advice from the doctor that you will get is to lose some weight. Weight around the waist is what you especially want to watch, because this has been linked directly to high blood pressure. As a rough guide, if you are a man and your waist is bigger than 40 inches, then you are at increased risk of suffering with high blood pressure. If you are a woman then it’s 35 inches.
2. Drink less alcohol
High levels of alcohol will also increase your blood pressure, although light drinking has been proven to actually reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease. It would appear that the limits, for safe drinking are a maximum of two drinks a day for a man, and one for a woman.
3. Cut down on salt
You could be sensitive to salt and that could be the cause of your high blood pressure. The recommended daily amount of salt for an average adult is just 1,500mg and that’s just over half a teaspoon. It’s worth noting that most of your salt comes from what has been added to processed foods and takeaways, so it’s not just a case of cutting back in the extra salt that you sprinkle on your food at mealtimes.
4. Give up smoking
We all know that smoking is bad for us, and one of the effects of smoking is that increases your blood pressure after every cigarette and it stays higher for some minutes afterward too. You can improve your health and increase your life expectancy by quitting smoking at any age; it’s never too late to try.
5. Eat dark chocolate
Eating dark chocolate has been proven to be an effective way of reducing blood pressure. In one study, it was found that 18% people who ate dark chocolate every day saw their blood pressure reduce. It is that the flavonols that dark chocolate contains increase the elasticity of the blood vessels and so reduce hypertension.
6. Get more exercise
Getting a bit more exercise would help bring down your pressure and help you lose a bit of that belly fat too. We are not talking about putting in the Lycra and joining a gym, just a thirty minute walk a day would do the trick.
7. Eat more fruit and vegetables
Fresh fruit and vegetables will provide you with essential vitamins and minerals that will help keep you healthy and reduce your blood pressure too, and we don’t mean asking for salad with your kebab! In particular, food that is high in potassium, such as bananas, leafy green vegetables and avocados, can help reduce hypertension
8. Reduce your stress
Stress is a major contributor to high blood pressure and, while you can’t instantly solve all the things that cause you stress, you can make sure that you get some time to chill and relax. Switch off sometimes and relax with some music, or a good book, and it will help to bring your blood pressure down.
9. Get more sun
This was a new one to me, but apparently low levels of Vitamin D can be a cause of high blood pressure. Get out into the open air more often and soak up some sun, because that will create more Vitamin D in your body. Sunlight also relaxes the blood vessels and that will reduce your blood pressure too.
10. Buy a home blood pressure monitor
If you are serious about lowering your blood pressure, then you will need to monitor it closely to see if the steps that you are taking are having any effect. It will also help you to identify the things that increase your blood pressure so that you can try and avoid them.
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