Simple Changes to Help you Lower your Blood Pressure

If you’ve been told by your healthcare provider that you have high blood pressure, don’t panic—it’s manageable!

If you’ve been told by your healthcare provider that you have high blood pressure, don’t panic—it’s manageable! You can make some simple changes to your lifestyle that can help you get your blood pressure down to a healthy level.

Eating a better diet is a great first step. Make sure your meals are rich in fruits, vegetables, whole-grain and high-fiber foods, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, beans, skinless poultry, lean meats, and fish, which you should eat at least twice a week. They should also be low in saturated and trans fats and sodium (salt). Limit your intake of added sugars, too.

You should also fit regular physical activity into your week. Aim for at least 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity three to four times per week. Physical activity should be performed in sessions of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week. Be sure to include flexibility and stretching exercises and include muscle strengthening activity at least two days each week. Find something you like so you’ll stick with it!

Keeping an eye on your weight is important as you work to keep your blood pressure in check. If you do need to shed some pounds, talk with your healthcare provider about healthy ways to lose weight, and see our article Take it off to learn about what works and why when it comes to achieving a healthy weight.

Managing stress may also help you make better lifestyle choices that help to lower your blood pressure. Find ways to calm your thoughts, such as meditation or yoga. Relaxing is important, even if you’re busy. Take 15 to 20 minutes a day to sit quietly, breathe deeply and think of a peaceful picture. Realize that you can’t control all the outside events in your life, but you can change how you handle them emotionally and psychologically. Try to learn to accept things you can’t change.

Engaging in regular physical activity can also lower stress levels. Be good to yourself! If you smoke, stop. Ask your healthcare provider about ways you can break the habit. If you drink alcohol, limit the amount because alcohol raises blood pressure. Drink no more than two drinks of alcohol per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women.

With a little bit of planning, you can take steps to reduce your blood pressure and improve your heart health.

UPDATED 5/31/2018: Deleted information for an online tool that is no longer available.

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