Reducing High Blood Pressure

What To Eat and What To Avoid

Reducing high blood pressure is a key factor in decreasing the risk of heart disease and strokes.  We can have high blood pressure without knowing it and the only way to know for sure is to have it physically measured. 

High blood pressure can often come hand-in-hand with other circulation problems, such as high cholesterol and diabetes.  Having a generally healthy heart by eating the right stuff and being active and fit is usually enough to keep all of these common circulation issues at bay. 

There is of course medication for high blood pressure, but that always has side-effects, and usually some quite unpleasant ones too.  

Blood pressure medication normally has diuretic effects causing our body to loose water.  

Therefore a more natural approach is best, using changes in diet and lifestyle to safely reduce blood pressure.

What are the best foods for reducing high blood pressure?

There are 2 nutrients known to be effective in reducing high blood pressure:

  • EPA (a hormone like substance) found in fish oils, such as mackerel, salmon and herring
  • Coenzyme Q10 found in chicken breast and sardines

In addition to these two specific nutrients a diet high in fibre will help slow down digestion and help to lower blood pressure by helping to reduce cholesterol.

Your diet for high blood pressure checklist:

Reduce:

  • Smoking - preferably quit completely
  • Alcohol intake
  • Intake of fatty foods such as cakes, biscuits and take away
  • Salt intake in your diet
  • Restricted tea and coffee intake will benefit
  • Overall calorie intake if you are overweight

Increase:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Oily fish
  • Exercise frequency and duration

What Exactly Is Blood Pressure?

BP is the pressure exerted by the flow of blood through the main arteries in our system.  A blood pressure reading will show two numbers and those numbers represent:

  • Systolic - the highest number, which is the pressure created by the contraction of the heart
  • Diastolic - the lowest number, the pressure as the heart relaxes, or the pressure in between heartbeats

Our blood pressure rises and falls constantly during the day for various reasons, and this is completely normal.  It is when our BP remains permanently raised that we need to take steps to reduce it before it leads to more serious health problems.

What is a normal blood pressure reading?

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A healthy and fit young person should have a blood pressure reading of 120/80 and a fit middle aged person could have a reading of 135/90.

If BP readings start to creep over 140/90 and up to 160/110, then this can indicate borderline hypertension (hypertension is the official medical term for high blood pressure).

What are the causes of high blood pressure?

Permanently raised blood pressure can be caused by several factors. The most common causes include:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Eating excessive amounts of salty foods or adding salt to meals
  • Sedentary lifestyle – in other words being inactive and doing little or no exercise

A note about exercise and reducing high blood pressure

If, up to now you have had a relatively sedentary lifestyle and done little or no exercise, then exercise should be approached with caution.  Gently at first so as to not cause any injury or stress bought on by sudden bursts of exercise.  If you are new to exercise then it is best to consult a professional such as a personal trainer or an instructor at your local gym.  They will be able to prescribe the best exercises for your current fitness, or lack of fitness, level.

A lifestyle that has regular exercise, healthy eating habits and avoiding stress and anxiety will be a lifestyle resulting in lowered blood pressure.

For a heart health diet plan to help with reducing high blood pressure, click here.

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