What can I do to lower my blood pressure?
Ready to lower your blood pressure? Here are lifestyle changes that research shows help.
Move towards a healthy body weight
Does losing lots of pounds feel overwhelming? The good news is that in case you are overweight even small weight loss can lower your blood pressure.
You can even go scale-free. Measure the circumference around your waist. If you’re over 40 inches for men or 34 inches for women (US standard) / 37 inches for men, 31.5 inches for women (UK standard), it’s time to try to shed a bit. Consult with your doctor about your target healthy waist circumference.
Get some regular exercise. How much? Ideally, 150 minutes spread out over 4 or 5 days. So only 30-40 minutes per day!
The good news is it doesn’t matter what you do, choose an activity you enjoy and works for you. Walk, bike, swim, climb the stairs at work . . . What helps is making a plan and sticking to it.
Eat the good stuff
The good stuff for someone with high blood pressure or hypertension doesn’t mean chips and cookies! Here’s what is good to eat.
- Lots of vegetables and fruit to give you more potassium and fiber
- Low-fat dairy to keep the fats down
- Very very little salt. Less than a teaspoon a day. Watch labels carefully here!
- Eat foods that have only a few ingredients. Processed foods are bad news
Take it easy on the booze
Consume a maximum of 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink for women.
How much is a drink? Here’s a simple drinks calculator.
Simply said, smoking raises blood pressure and increases health risks. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk of heart disease.
Try to chill
Try and reduce your stress! Stress will spike your blood pressure. Over time, all those spikes make for a lot of strain on your body.
Take 3 deep breaths. Meditate. Play music. Fake a smile. Really, even things this simple can help.
And most of all, keep measuring.
Measuring lets you know how you are doing. Measuring gives you information to share with your doctor.
Most of all, measuring let’s you see your progress!
- 2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ ASPC/NMA/PCNA Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults: Executive Summary.