High blood pressure is one of the major lifestyle factors playing a role in our health today. Several people are diagnosed with blood pressure as early as in their thirties, and it is widespread among Indians.
Here are the top ten tips that will help reduce and control high blood pressure:
- Get moving: Today, the world has woken up to the benefits of regular exercise. In people with hypertension, exercise causes the blood vessels in the body to widen, and this action brings down the blood pressure. While exercising, the blood pressure becomes high but that happens to all of us because exercise is perceived by the body as stress.
- Cut back on salt: If your consumption of salt is high, your blood pressure will be higher. This is because, salt contains sodium and when sodium levels in the body are high, blood pressure is elevated. Substitute salt with herbs and spices to make your food tastier.
- Eat healthy: Now-a-days fast food and junk food have become a global phenomenon, but these foods are high in oil and sodium which negatively impact your blood pressure. Hence eat home cooked meals as much as possible and when eating outside, choose salads with low fat dressings and lean meat such as chicken or fish. Choose grilled preparations over pan fried and fried stuff.
- Bring home a pet: If you want to remain healthy and you can afford it, bring home a pet such as a dog. You will find yourself getting more active due to activities such as walking the dog twice a day and pets make people happy and cheerful.
- Tune inwards: People who meditate regularly find themselves calmer and less stressed than before. Just twenty minutes a day is enough to put you in a positive frame of mind and lower your blood pressure. For best results, meditate early morning and find the rest of your day getting better.
- Become more aware: If you are the kind of person who gets angry quickly, get an insight to what is causing the outburst – Are you impatient by nature, or have low tolerance to people less intelligent than you? Use this awareness to make yourself patient and more accepting of other people’s faults and you will find your blood pressure too staying normal.
- Eat loads of fruits and veggies: Potassium, calcium and magnesium are effective in reducing blood pressure so make sure you include foods high in these vital elements. Get your potassium from bananas and potatoes, calcium from dairy products and magnesium from grains, green leafy vegetables and nuts.
- Consult with your doctor regularly: Before you start with any exercise program or take any supplements or alternative medicine, consult with your family doctor. This is important to prevent any adverse effects. Monitor your blood pressure yourself by buying an electronic device to measure blood pressure. Ask your doctor if you should expect any side-effects with the medication that you have been given.
- Don’t overdo the bad stuff: If you can’t stay away from alcohol, smoking and caffeine, just go easy with the quantity as all these tend to make your blood pressure go haywire. However, it is best to abstain from smoking and drinking and limit caffeine intake on a day-to-day basis.
- Ask for support: If you have low will power, ask your partner or close friends to pitch in. Tell them to strictly stop you if you are overdoing it at a party and to help you keep off junk food. When you know that people around trust you and care about you, you will take care of yourself better as you don’t want to let them down.
Photograph via sxc.hu
Written by Dr Nisreen Nakhoda, General Physician
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