High blood pressure also referred to as hypertension is a kind of health problem where there is constant high pressure of the blood in the arteries. A person suffers from hypertension when the blood pressure reading is 140/90 mm Hg or higher. Some of the common causes of this health problem are obesity, genetic factors, excessive intake of alcohol, high intake of salt, lack of aerobic exercise, stress, birth control pills, pain relievers, kidney diseases, and adrenal diseases and so on. Reducing high blood pressure can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
1. Maintain a healthy weight
The two main healthy weight indicators are body mass index (BMI) and waist measurement. BMI is calculated by a mathematical formula using a person’s height and weight. This can determine the appropriate weight for a person according to their height. BMI equals a person’s weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared, ie BMI = kg/m2
Calculate your BMI—you should aim for a BMI of less than 25.
A waist measurement of more than 35 inches (89 cm) for women and 40 inches (102 cm) for men is also considered high risk.
2. Keep physically active
You should complete 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Moderate exercise can include gardening, pushing a stroller, walking,
bicycling, or swimming.
3. Eat a healthy diet
Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and low fat dairy products. A good guide is found in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)* eating plan. This plan was developed in the US as a result of a study at four medical centers. Patients who used it made significant improvements in lowering their blood pressure.
4. Treat sleep apnea effectively
Research indicates that sleep apnea patients who undergo effective continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy experience a substantial reduction in blood pressure.
5. Take prescribed drugs only as directed
Take medication as prescribed by your doctor.
6. Reduce salt intake
- Buy fresh vegetables and fruits
- Avoid processed meat
- Cook without adding salt
- Avoid instant sauces, gravy, and flavorings
- Choose low-salt convenience foods
7. Add Fruits and Vegetables to your diet
- Eating more fruit and vegetables has been proven to help lower blood pressure.
- Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and fibre to keep your body in good condition. They also contain potassium, which helps to balance out the negative effects of salt. This has a direct effect on your blood pressure, helping to lower it.
- All vegetables – Great sources of complex carbohydrates and fiber
- Vegetables High in Potassium – boiled Swiss Chard, Romaine Lettuce, Crimini mushrooms, boiled spinach, raw celery, boiled mustard greens, raw fennel, eggplant, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts.
- Vegetables High in Magnesium – boiled Swiss Chard, boiled spinach, mustard greens, summer squash, broccoli, turnip greens, pumpkin seeds.
- Vegetables High in Calcium – Spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, Swiss chard, kale, romaine lettuce, broccoli, fennel, cabbage, green beans.
- Fruits and Vegetables High in Vitamin C – broccoli, bell peppers, kale, cauliflower, strawberries, lemons, mustard and turnip greens, Brussels sprouts, papaya, cabbage, spinach, kiwifruit, snow peas, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, limes, tomatoes, zucchini, raspberries, asparagus, celery.
- Fruits and Vegetables High in Vitamin E – mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, spinach, kale, papaya, olives, bell pepper, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, tomatoes, blueberries, broccoli.
- Vegetables High in Vitamin B3 – mushrooms, asparagus.
- Vegetables High in Nitrates – Beets
- Three vegetables that aren’t on the above lists are garlic, onions, and celery. These three are well known for lowering blood pressure. Garlic and onions are high in sulfuric-containing compounds and celery contains 3-n-butyl phthalide, which lowers blood pressure. Make sure you include these vegetables in your diet as well.