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Tips for Managing Your Blood Pressure

Known as the “silent killer,” untreated high blood pressure can damage your circulatory system and put you at greater risk for a heart attack or stroke. Fortunately, you can reduce and manage your blood pressure with a variety of effective strategies that will keep you on the path to good health.

Exercise regularly

Getting regular exercise is a great way to control high blood pressure — or to keep it from rising in the first place. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise. If you haven’t been living an active lifestyle, though, be sure to consult with your doctor before jumping into a new exercise regimen. Once you’ve spoken with your doctor, incorporate activities like brisk walks, bicycle rides, swimming or running into your daily routine. Strength-building exercises can also contribute to lower blood pressure. Healthline points out that as you make exercise a habit, your heart will strengthen and expend less effort when it pumps — resulting in lower blood pressure.

Eat healthier foods

Eating a healthier diet is a key part of any strategy to manage your blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans, along with lower-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and healthy oils like olive and canola. As you focus on these foods, you’ll also want to reduce the amount of red meat, processed foods, saturated and trans fats, sugar and sodium you consume. Along with reducing your blood pressure, following these tips can improve your heart’s overall health and contribute to weight loss.

Cut the sodium

High-sodium eating habits are a major contributor to heightened blood pressure, so cutting back on the salt is one of the most important things you can do for your health. According to the American Heart Association, most adults should ingest no more than 1,500-2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. Start by eating fewer processed and prepackaged foods — items like pizza, bread, canned soups, chips and pizza often contain a huge amount of sodium. When you do eat these foods, be sure to read the label so you know how much sodium they contain. You’ll also want to keep an eye on what you eat when you dine out, as meals prepared at restaurants are frequently high in sodium. And when you’re at home, think twice before reaching for the salt shaker. Look for alternative ways to season your food, including herbs, spices and salt substitutes.

Reduce stress

Finding effective ways to cope with stress can also help you manage your blood pressure. According to Harvard Health, not only does uncontrolled stress raise your blood pressure, but it can also lead you into habits that are unhealthy for your heart — like eating too much, not sleeping enough and not exercising. To combat stress, try activities that calm and relax you, practice relaxation techniques and consider taking up yoga or meditation. You may also want to consider consulting with a health professional on stress-reducing strategies.

As you work to manage your blood pressure with exercise, healthy eating habits and stress reduction, remember that these things are not a substitute for professional medical advice and treatment. Lifestyle changes are a good place to start, but make sure you consult with your doctor to devise a plan that’s right for your specific needs.

This article is presented by Zimbrick European.
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