Often, people who have high blood pressure aren’t even aware of the problem. Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure is a silent killer. There are many factors that affect your blood pressure, and while that may seem a bit daunting, it also means there are many ways you can make a difference in lowering your blood pressure.
To begin with, try to eat smart. Stay away from salty, high-fat foods, which means limiting your consumption of canned, dried, cured, packaged and fast foods. Eat 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Yes, I know you like to think you eat enough fruits and vegetables, but try writing down in one day exactly what you eat. Most of us are lucky to find we’re eating 3 or 4 fruits and vegetables per day!
When selecting the meat you’ll be eating, choose lean meats, fish or chicken. Eat whole grain pasta, brown rice and beans. Eat two or three services of low fat or fat-free dairy products per day. Try to keep your weight down. If necessary, count calories so you know what you’re taking in and where your problem areas are. If you can get a few pounds off, do it: weight loss of 10 pounds can help lower blood pressure.
Get active. Target those activities you enjoy and do them often with friends or family. Remember, connecting with other people can help you keep your blood pressure down too. Try to be active for a least 30 minutes each day, most days of the week.
Watch your smoking and alcohol consumption. If you can quit smoking, do it. There are many programs out there to help; don’t quit quitting!
If lifestyle changes don’t do the trick, talk to your doctor about prescription medications. You may not want to take a pill every day, but it’s sure better than living every day paralyzed from a stroke.