High blood pressure or hypertension can prove to be one of the primary risk factors for developing heart disease and stroke. Our blood pressure levels can be impacted by factors such as our genes, kidney disease, certain medications, and lifestyle factors. Lifestyle factors can play the biggest role in reducing our blood pressure. Here are tips to reduce blood pressure levels.
Reduce the Salt Intake
Salt, or sodium chloride, is often used to flavor and preserve foods for years together, and it is part of most packaged foods. Sodium and chloride are key minerals for body functions. They can manage the fluid balance of our blood, regulating our blood pressure. Too much of it may mean bad news for our blood pressure levels. If you eat too little of it or too much of it, it can cause an imbalance and increase blood pressure levels. The European Food Safety Authority recommends a person eat no more than 5 g of salt per day ( 1 teaspoon) to control fluctuating blood pressure levels.
While high levels of salt or sodium chloride can increase blood pressure, low intakes of potassium can also increase the risk of hypertension. Potassium is required for the functioning of many body processes, much like sodium, as it helps maintain the fluid balance of our blood and regulates our blood pressure.
Having more potassium can counterbalance the negative effects of sodium and keep blood pressure in the optimum range. You can find optimum potassium levels in fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, potatoes, spinach, and lentils.
Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight
Maintaining healthy body weight is important to manage our blood pressure. As body weight increases, there is a greater demand for your heart, leading to a rise in blood pressure levels. Several factors balance our body weight. This includes factors such as biological, psychological, and environmental factors. Losing weight involves the simple calculation of burning more calories than we consume.
These factors differ between people and may lose and maintain weight compared to others. When it comes to weight loss, we must burn more calories than we consume. Choose a sustainable form or lifestyle form that can help you lose weight.
Stay Physically Active As Much As Possible
Physical activity benefits the mind, and this can reduce blood pressure. Regular physical activity promises many benefits, such as increasing the heart’s strength, reducing the effort to reduce the blood around the body. This may reduce the impact on arteries and, in its turn, reduce blood pressure.
The World Health Organization recommends maintaining a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity, something as simple as brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity such as running every week. This equals including the least 30 minutes of moderate activity, five days per week. Of course, increasing the levels may give greater benefits.
Smoking cigarettes may clog the walls of our arteries. This can increase blood pressure and amplify the risk of a heart attack and stroke. One of the numerous ways of reducing blood pressure levels is quitting smoking. If you smoke, consider quitting, as it happens to be one of the most important lifestyle changes that can help retain long-term health.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Unlimited consumption of alcohol can also lead to increased blood pressure and other negative health effects. Reduce the risk of high blood pressure by limiting your alcohol consumption to 100 g of alcohol per week, so that means consuming five, two-unit drinks a week. However, this is a general recommendation, and it can vary across several countries and health organizations.
Eat a Balanced Diet
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH diet is an eating plan endorsed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health. The DASH diet is singularly effective in reducing high blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels, the two factors leading to heart disease. Include food groups, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, limiting your intake of sugary foods, and foods high in saturated fats.
While it may be difficult to include all the lifestyle changes at once, include them one at a time. Soon you will be able to follow them without much effort. They will become a part of your lifestyle with ease.