High blood pressure affects around one in four adults in England, but for many people, simply tweaking their diet could bring it down. Lowering your blood pressure by focussing on the food that you eat could improve your general heart health and stop the need to take daily medication.
How To Lower Your Blood Pressure Through Diet
One of the first steps to reducing your blood pressure is to look at the nutrients you eat. It’s very important to monitor your sodium intake and reduce the amount of salt you add to food during cooking and at the table. It’s remarkable how your taste buds adjust if you stick to this tweak to your diet – before long you will not notice the reduction. Nutrients that you should consume more of to manage hypertension are magnesium, potassium, and calcium. It is also important to make sure you have adequate fiber in your food, as this helps keep cholesterol levels down.
The Food To Eat To Beat Hypertension
To make sure you eat plenty of fiber and the essential nutrients, add leafy green veg to your meals – cabbage, lettuce, kale, leeks, spinach, and parsley are ideal. Pile these higher than usual and fill your body with vegetables for meals and you will help your arteries. Beetroot is high in the nitrates that lower BP, so eat them roasted, baked, or pickled. Nuts are great for heart health but don’t reach for the salted variety! Just 30 grams a day of mixed nuts can really have a beneficial effect.
Poultry, fish, and lean meat in small quantities should be the preferred staple food. Try to have occasional veggie meals when beans and pulse make up the base of the dish too. Lots of fresh fruit in all the colors of the rainbow make the ideal snack or dessert, and add whole grains such as oatmeal to your meals as much as possible.
Avoid These Foods to Fight High Blood Pressure
Avoiding processed foods will help to lower hypertension. Takeaways, frozen dinners, and pre-packaged foods use more salt, fat, and other additives. Look closely at the labels, and you may be surprised at the numbers. Try to minimize the amount of red meat you eat routinely and avoid trans fats and saturated fats. If you drink a lot of alcohol, then cutting right down will have a noticeable effect too.
Adding Exercise to Your Routine
Exercise will reduce your blood pressure if you usually lead a sedentary life. Merely getting the blood flowing regularly with help, there is no need to run a marathon. Walking is arguably the best and easiest exercise to do. It doesn’t cost anything, it can be varied to suit your ability, and you can fit it in any time of day.
Walking briskly enough to raise your temperature and leave you slightly out of breath for 20 minutes a day has been shown to reduce elevated blood pressure. Swimming, cycling, dancing, or a mixture of all of these for 150 minutes (as recommended by the NHS) in total a week should be aimed for. Build up to this and make it fun – if you enjoy it, you are more likely to keep it up. Doing activities with a friend will keep you motivated.
Getting Medical Help for Raised Blood Pressure
Hypertension is sometimes called the silent killer because there are few visible signs of the condition. The best way to check for it is to have regular checks with a nurse, doctor, or the pharmacy. If your blood pressure is high, don’t ignore it. You could try lowering it with diet and exercise first, but if medication is needed, listen to the advice of your doctor. Manage your hypertension with the tablets prescribed but continue to work towards better heart health to give yourself the best chance of a long and active lifestyle.