High blood pressure is a chronic health condition that can lead to heart disease and stroke.
One key to fighting the condition is having healthy lifestyle habits.
There are five healthy habits that can fight high blood pressure, including healthy eating, being physically active, keeping a healthy weight, drinking less alcohol, and managing and coping with stress.
First, you need to have healthy eating habits
To help treat high blood pressure, doctors recommend that you limit sodium and salt intake, increase potassium, and eat foods that are heart healthy.
A low-sodium diet can help you control your blood pressure. You can achieve this by choosing and preparing foods that are lower in salt and sodium.
For example, you can low-sodium and “no added salt” foods and seasonings at the table or while cooking.
Pay attention to food labels when you buy foods in supermarkets. Use spices to replace salt.
The recommended amount of sodium is 2,300 mg a day. If you have high blood pressure, you may need to intake less than that limit.
You can also try Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan.
It focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other foods that are heart healthy and low in fat, cholesterol, and salt.
The DASH eating plan is a good heart-healthy eating plan and can help protect your blood pressure and heart health.
Second, you need to have regular physical exercises
Regular exercise can lower high blood pressure and reduce your risk for other health problems.
If you haven’t done exercise before, talk with your doctor before you start a new exercise plan. S/he can tell you how much and what kinds of physical activity are safe for you.
Experts suggest that everyone should do moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at least 150 minutes per week, or vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise for 75 minutes per week.
Aerobic exercise is an exercise that makes your heart beats harder and makes you use more oxygen than usual. For example, jogging, swimming, and walking are good aerobic exercise.
Third, you should maintain a healthy weight
Keeping a healthy weight can help you control high blood pressure and reduce your risk for heart disease. If you’re overweight or obese, try to lose excessive body weight.
Weight loss can lower your risk for many health problems, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Greater amounts of weight loss can improve your blood pressure readings, lower bad cholesterol, and increase good cholesterol.
A useful measure of overweight and obesity is body mass index (BMI). To get your BMI, check out NHLBI’s online BMI calculator or talk to your doctor.
Fourth, you should drink less alcohol
Too much alcohol will raise your blood pressure and triglyceride levels, which is a type of fat found in the blood. Alcohol also adds extra calories, which may lead to weight gain.
Experts suggest that men should have no more than two drinks containing alcohol a day and that women should have no more than one drink containing alcohol a day.
Fifth, you need to cope with your stress well
Learning how to manage stress, relax, and cope with problems can improve your emotional and physical health and can lower high blood pressure.
You can try to be physically active, listen to music or focus on something calm or peaceful, do yoga or tai chi, and meditate to be mindful.
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