By Tamsin Brown • 08 April 2022 • 16:38
How to control high blood pressure through lifestyle and diet. Image: rawpixel.com, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
High blood pressure is a significant indicator of cardiovascular risk, and although the causes are not entirely clear, lifestyle and diet are essential.
Without taking diet and lifestyle into account, it is very difficult for medication to be effective, and in milder cases, changing certain habits may even help to regulate blood pressure without the need for medication.
Reduce sodium intake
Reducing your sodium intake can significantly lower your blood pressure. Try using vinegar, garlic, spices, onions or herbs instead of salt. Avoid foods rich in sodium, such as cold meats, pre-cooked foods or bottled sauces.
Watch your weight
Try to have a balanced diet that is low in saturated fats and rich in fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. Being overweight significantly increases the risk of developing high blood pressure.
Stress reduction and good-quality sleep are key to lowering blood pressure levels. If relaxation techniques and physical exercise fail to help with stress and anxiety, speak to a professional to assess the best treatment options.
Moderate alcohol and caffeine consumption
Moderate to heavy alcohol consumption (especially outside of meals) is significantly associated with hypertension. Caffeine causes a short-lasting but drastic increase in blood pressure and should be avoided by those with hypertension.
Smoking interacts with high blood pressure and increases the risk of cerebrovascular and/or cardiovascular disease.
Finally, the benefits of regular physical exercise for healthy ageing and reducing the risk of high blood pressure are well-established. Despite this, less than 25 per cent of older people are physically active at least three days a week.
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Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news.
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