We all know that high blood pressure is bad for you; physically and psychologically. The long-term effects of high blood-pressure include damage to the heart, heart attacks and even stroke. So it’s in our best interests to keep it down. But how?
Thankfully, it’s easier than you might think to make lifestyle choices that will help keep your blood pressure down. Whether it’s taking more care over your diet, or choosing to walk rather than drive, or taking up yoga – there are plenty of options to help you out.
Current guidelines recommend that the minimum amount of exercise you should be doing is 30 minutes, 5x a week. That doesn’t mean you need to hit the gym or start pounding the pavements. Gentle cardiovascular exercise like walking briskly also counts.
The stress relieving properties of exercises like yoga and tai chi can have a significant effect on your blood pressure. Because the focus of these gentle work-out is on controlling your breathing they can slow your system down and help relieve tension.
Potassium rich fruits and vegetables are an amazing (and easy) way of getting your blood pressure down. To get your fill of potassium indulge in mineral rich foods like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, kidney beans, melons, prunes and raisins.
Eat Less Salt
The amount of salt in your diet that your body can handle varies from person to person. But one thing is constant across everyone with high blood pressure – reducing the amount of salt in your diet will have a positive effect on lowering your blood pressure.
Cut the Caffeine
Caffeine raises blood pressure by tightening blood vessels, and the effects last for several hours. So either switch to the de-caff, or try replacing your cup of joe with a spot of tea!
The physical effects of prolonged stress are closely linked to high blood pressure. Taking a break from or simply ensuring that you limit your work hours to your contracted hours will help your blood pressure get back on track.
But remember, don’t take your own blood pressure! You can only assess your blood pressure on a 24-hour monitor. If any medical professional makes a diagnosis based on a one-off test, it’s nonsense.