When we reach 50, statistics tell us that we are more likely to fall victim to various medical conditions including high blood pressure. But you are not a statistic. Statistics are only part of the story. We want to help you in beating high blood pressure and have the best tips to keep you healthy.
While these are great tips we do recommend seeking out a doctor in serious cases, these should also not be taken as medical advice. However, the suggestions here are free or low cost, do not have negative side effects, and are likely to be strongly approved by your doctor for the positive effects they have not only on your blood pressure (BP) but on your overall health.
Just 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise such as walking (75 minutes if the exercise is more vigorous like jogging) goes a long way to lower high BP or to keep normal BP from increasing with age. This is just a baseline so feel free to add more exercise and even some strength training or stretches.
The good news is that all exercise helps, so an hour in the garden or even cleaning up the kitchen counts.
People who eat lots of fruits and veggies tend to have lower BP. Plant foods are high in fiber and other nutrients like potassium which has been found to lower BP. So stock up at the produce aisle. Berries are particularly nutrient-rich and this is the time of year to buy them.
There is good news ahead. Cocoa is a plant food, so dark chocolate and cocoa powder in a drink or as a baking ingredient are good for you. The trick is to limit the quantity since these treats are high in calories.
We are not talking dirty here. C.R.A.P. stands for carbohydrates, refined, and processed. Minimize processed foods containing sugar, flour, and anything you can’t pronounce. We don’t have to eliminate them entirely. We are still human, but we should replace as much of the C.R.A.P. as we can with the fruits and veggies mentioned above. Alcohol, while not exactly a carbohydrate is a highly processed substance that is not good for our BP or for much else. Most of us do not have to eliminate it entirely, but it should be saved for special occasions.
And two pieces of good news. Unless you are salt sensitive, you do not have to worry about putting salt in your food. Eliminating processed foods will have already removed much salt from your diet. And caffeine only raises BP in the short term, so you may still be able to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning.
You knew this was coming. Obesity and high blood pressure are correlated.
But this is all good news. If you follow the advice above about getting more exercise, eating more veggies, and cutting the C.R.A.P., the numbers on the scale will drop right along with the BP numbers.
This is easier said than done. One suggestion to lower stress is to work less. However, work that is in a job you need to support yourself or your family cannot be easily eliminated. If you are looking after a two-year-old, you can’t always take a nap or a vacation.
Prayer and meditation are powerful stress reducers and there is a lot of advice on how to begin a meditation practice. More simply, we can look at what we ourselves can control, namely our own attitudes. We can decide that we do not have to sweat the small stuff. Then we realize how much of what is stressing us is small stuff.
The good news is that this change of attitude will improve not only our blood pressure, but every aspect of our lives.
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