By making these lifestyle changes, you can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you might be worried about taking medication to bring your numbers down. Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure.
Here are lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down. Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea), which further raises your blood pressure. Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes in controlling blood pressure.
In general, you may reduce your blood pressure by about 1 millimeter of mercury (mm Hg) with each kilogram (about 2. 2 pounds) of weight you lose. Besides shedding pounds, you generally should also keep an eye on your waistline. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure.
Not Known Details About Blood Pressure
Women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (89 centimeters). These numbers vary among ethnic groups. Ask your doctor about a healthy waist measurement for you. Regular physical activity — such as 150 minutes a week, or about 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure.
If you have elevated blood pressure, exercise can help you avoid developing hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels. Some examples of aerobic exercise you may try to lower blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or dancing. You can also try high-intensity interval training, which involves alternating short bursts of intense activity with subsequent recovery periods of lighter activity.
Aim to include strength training exercises at least two days a week. Talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program. Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure.
Eating Habits To Lower Blood Pressure This Heart Month
It isn’t easy to change your eating habits, but with these tips, you can adopt a healthy diet: Writing down what you eat, even for just a week, can shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor what you eat, how much, when, and why. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure.
Talk to your doctor about the potassium level that’s best for you. Read food labels when you shop and stick to your healthy-eating plan when you’re dining out, too. Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can improve your heart health and reduce blood pressure by about 5 to 6 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure.
In general, limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less. However, a lower sodium intake — 1,500 mg a day or less — is ideal for most adults. To decrease sodium in your diet, consider these tips: If possible, choose low-sodium alternatives of the foods and beverages you normally buy.
Most sodium is added during processing. Just 1 level teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium. Use herbs or spices to add flavor to your food. If you don’t feel you can drastically reduce the sodium in your diet suddenly, cut back gradually. Your palate will adjust over time.
Lower Alcohol will Help Lower Blood Pressure
By drinking alcohol only in moderation — generally one drink a day for women, or two a day for men — you can potentially lower your blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1. 5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications. Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Stopping smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health.
Caffeine and Lower Blood Pressure
The role caffeine plays in blood pressure is still debated. Caffeine can raise blood pressure up to 10 mm Hg in people who rarely consume it. But people who drink coffee regularly may experience little or no effect on their blood pressure. Although the long-term effects of caffeine on blood pressure aren’t clear, it’s possible blood pressure may slightly increase.
The Dash Diet
The DASH diet emphasizes the right portion sizes, variety of foods, and nutrients. Discover how DASH can improve your health and lower your blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is a lifelong approach to healthy eating that’s designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension).
The DASH diet encourages you to reduce the sodium in your diet and eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium. By following the DASH diet, you may be able to reduce your blood pressure by a few points in just two weeks.
Because the DASH diet is a healthy way of eating, it offers health benefits besides just lowering blood pressure. The DASH diet is also in line with dietary recommendations to prevent osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The DASH diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy foods — and moderate amounts of whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts.