Advertisement

Take the pressure down

Take the pressure down
Getty Images

One in three of us have high blood pressure, and most of us don’t have a clue. High blood pressure causes no symptoms, yet it is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. There are many things we can all do every day to keep our blood pressure in the normal range.

Know where you stand

Know where you stand
Getty Images

Be aware of the things that can elevate your blood pressure reading before you go in – but definitely get your BP tested regularly. “High blood pressure is silent so you don’t know if yours is elevated unless you get tested during your annual physical,” says cardiologist Ali Rahimi, MD.

Check out 18 more ways to keep blood pressure in check.

Understand the numbers

Understand the numbers
Getty Images

Normal blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading that measures heart beats while pumping blood) below 120 mm/Hg and a diastolic pressure (the lower number that reflects the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats) below 80 mm/Hg. “Know your numbers and what they mean so you can prevent heart attacks and strokes by taking action to lower your blood pressure if it is elevated,” says Dr. Rahimi. Anything above this may indicate a problem or the early stages of one.

Discover these six sneaky causes of high blood pressure.

Slash your salt intake

Slash your salt intake
Getty Images

Salt gets a bad rap when it comes to high blood pressure. While salt is likely not public enemy No. 1, it can cause trouble for certain salt-sensitive individuals. Sodium can lure water into the bloodstream, which can increase the volume of blood and blood pressure. “Most of the salt in our diets comes from processed foods – not the salt shaker,” Dr. Rahimi says.

Find out 15 things that happen to your body when you cut back on salt.

Read food labels

Read food labels
Getty Images

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mgs) of sodium a day with an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg. “Read labels and look for wording like ‘low-sodium’ (140 mg of sodium or less per serving), ‘sodium free’ (less than 5 mg of sodium per serving) or ‘no salt added’ (just what it says) when grocery shopping,” Dr. Rahimi says. Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg, according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic.

Here are 35 things that food manufacturers won’t tell you.

Snack smart

Snack smart
Getty Images

People on a low-salt diet can struggle to find low-sodium, healthy snacks that will help them control HBP.

These 9 healthy snacks can curb your cravings for salty food.

Advertisement

Give tinned veggies a bath

Give tinned veggies a bath
Getty Images

Most of us don’t get enough vegetables and for some the high cost associated with fresh ones is prohibitive. “Canned veggies do contain sodium, but rinsing them off before eating them can dial sodium back and for a more affordable alternative,” says nutritionist Dana Greene, RD.

Go bananas

Go bananas
Getty Images

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a banana a day may keep HBP at bay. “We know that potassium lessens the harmful effects of sodium,” says Greene. “The more potassium you take in, the more sodium you excrete through urine.” That’s not all this super important mineral does to help lower blood pressure either. “Potassium eases tension in your blood vessel walls, which helps reduce blood pressure,” she says. A medium banana has about 420 mg of potassium and is easy to include in your breakfast or as a mid-afternoon snack. The recommended potassium intake for an average adult is 4,700 milligrams (mg) per day, according to the American Heart Association. Sweet potatoes, chicken, broccoli, peas, Lima beans, tomatoes, potatoes and citrus fruits are excellent sources of potassium, Greene says.

Bananas are also scientifically proven to reduce belly fat. Here are more ways to eat your way to a flat belly.

Spice things up

Spice things up
Getty Images

Just because you need to shake our salt habit doesn’t mean that flavour of your favourite foods should suffer. “Choose fresh herbs and spices such as garlic, pepper and lemon juice to add flavour to your food without raising your blood pressure,” Dr. Rahimi says.

Find out how to grow your own spices.

Lose weight, if you need to

Lose weight, if you need to
Getty Images

Being overweight or obese ups our risk of a host of illnesses including heart disease. And in case you haven’t heard, you can be “overfat” without being overweight. “Overweight also increases the chances that you will develop high blood pressure, and this can be a double whammy to your heart health,” says Arthur Heller, MD. But “losing as little as two to five kilos may help lower your blood pressure and improve heart health.”

Here are 37 fat-burning foods to help you lose weight.

Never miss a deal again - sign up now!

Connect with us:

Philippines lockdown update:
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, we hope to have the April print issue available by the middle of July, and the May, June and July issues available by the end of July, but this is dependent on when local lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team