Having an unhealthy lifestyle can raise your blood pressure over time. Suffering with high blood pressure, increases your risk of having a stroke or heart attack in the future. If your blood pressure is too high your doctor will prescribe medication and review this regularly. However you can make simple changes to your diet and lifestyle to help significantly drop your blood pressure levels.
1. Eat less salt
Too much salt in your diet raises blood pressure, therefore it’s important to eat as little as possible. An adult should eat no more than 6g of salt a day.
To reduce daily intake, don’t add salt to food when cooking or at the table and check the labels when food shopping to choose low-salt options (0.3g salt or less per 100g of food).
2. Eat more fruit and vegetables
As well as vitamins, minerals and fibre, fruit and vegetables contain potassium, which helps to balance out the negative effects of salt. Eating more fruit and vegetables helps to lower your blood pressure.
Adults should eat five different portions of fruit and vegetables every day. A portion of fruit or vegetable is 80g, about the size of your fist.
3. Drink less alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol will raise your blood pressure. The recommended limits are no more than 3-4 units of alcohol per day for men, and 2-3 units a day for women. A unit is roughly half a pint of beer or cider, a small glass of wine, or a single measure of spirits.
Try low-alcohol alternatives and check the labels to make sure you know how many units are in your drink. Make your drinks last longer by adding extra mixers or water.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Being a healthy weight (BMI between 18.5-24.9) is very important in helping to control your blood pressure. If you are overweight, losing weight will help to reduce blood pressure and risk of health problems.
The best way to lose weight is to choose more low-fat and low-calorie foods, and increase your physical activity.
5. Be more active
Being active for just 30 minutes five times a week can lower your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy.
Any activity that leaves you feeling slightly out of breath is ideal. Try taking the stairs instead of the lift/escalator, get off the bus one stop early and walk the rest or get a pedometer and aim to increase your daily step count.