Doctor measuring blood pressure - studio shot on white background

Otherwise known as hypertension, high blood pressure is a reading above 140/190 mmHg. People who have this are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke. In order to lower their levels, there are a range of lifestyle choices people can make to help reduce blood pressure.

Relax

Stress is a common factor in many conditions relating to heart disease and strokes. Blood pressure can be temporarily elevated during moments of stress and anxiety. In light of this consider the wide range of activities available to help you stay calm such as meditation and deep breathing to exercise and a healthy diet. If you feel continuously stressed out, try breathing deeply in a quiet setting for 5 minutes in the morning and at night. Inhale deeply and expand your belly. Exhale and release all of your tension.

Lifestyle

Watch that waistline. Eating less fatty foods and observing a more balanced diet will help control your weight. It is a proven medical fact that being overweight or obese can add to heightened blood pressure as well as vices such as smoking, alcohol and caffeine. In fact, smoking throughout the day means your blood pressure may remain constantly high. Cutting back on these habits will help promote a healthier lifestyle.

Diet

Probably one of the most significant factors in reducing high blood pressure. There is currently a special dieting program known as the DASH diet which especially targets hypertension. It focuses on foods that are low in cholesterol and saturated fats aiming for balanced nutrition from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. People who have used the DASH diet have reported drops as much as 14mmHg.

Less Salt

Minimizing your intake of Sodium can lower your blood pressure up to 8mmHg. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid restaurant and pre-packaged foods which are known to have notoriously high salt content. Doctors recommend limiting your sodium intake to 1.5 grams a day. Try to season foods with spices, herbs, lemon, and salt-free seasoning blends if you miss the flavor. Also, keep a sodium diary. You may be surprised at how much sodium you consume each day and it will help you decide which foods to decrease or eliminate

BMI Measurements

A BMI reading is a measurement of your body’s height to weight. Otherwise known as Body mass index, this method is used to obtain an accurate reading on your weight and cholesterol levels. With this information, a doctor will be able to determine if you are at increased risk of hypertension. Talk to your doctor to see if you are at increased risk for high blood pressure and need to lose weight.

Exercise

Regular exercise helps improve your BMI, lose weight and decrease hypertension. Minimum exercise has been deemed to be moderate physical activity half an hour for five days a week. But avoid leaving it all for Sunday. Trying to squeeze your exercise in on the weekends to make up for weekday inactivity isn’t a good strategy. Those sudden bursts of activity could actually be risky.

Weight Loss

Losing as little as 10 pounds has been proven to lower high blood pressure with the drop becoming greater with the more weight you shed. Also, if you are currently taking medication to reduce your blood pressure levels then exercise makes them more effective.