How to Prevent High Blood
Although it is recommend that you prevent your blood pressure from getting
high in the first place, these suggestions can help along with any medicine
your doctor prescribes.
Maintain a Healthy Weight, and Lose Weight If You Are Overweight
Overweight people are two to six times more likely to suffer from high
blood pressure than people whose weight is in the normal range. Maintaining
a healthy weight for you body type is an important factor in general good
health as well as helping to keep your blood pressure down.
Body shape is just as important as body weight. Body shape is inherited
just like eye and hair color. Where your body stores fat is determined
by heredity. Some people store it around the stomach, other on the hips
Being “pear-shaped” with big hips and thighs seems to be healthier
than being “apple-shaped” with a big stomach.
No matter where you carry your extra weight, you can reduce your risk
of developing high blood pressure by losing weight. Even small amounts
of weight loss can have a significant effect on blood pressure. So losing
weight is the first step to preventing high blood pressure.
The simple fact is that to lose weight you need to burn more calories
than you eat. Avoid crash diets. They are both dangerous and simply don’t
work. Slowly losing weight by reducing calorie intake is the best and
safest way to lose anywhere from ½ to 1 pound per week. Cutting
back on about 500 a day calories coupled with being more physically active
will let you lose about a pound (equal to 3,500 calories) a week.
Be More Physically Active
Being more physically active is another important part of losing weight.
Physical activity burns up calories. Cutting down on saturated fat and
overall calories combined with physical activity can not only help you
lose more and keep it off longer than either dieting or exercise alone,
but will help you keep in shape.
Physical activity can reduce your risk of heart disease and help lower
your total cholesterol level in addition to helping you lose weight. Exercise
raises the HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol that doesn’t
clog arteries and also help reduce blood pressure by as much as 25-50%.
You don’t have to be a “jock” to benefit from physical
activity. Simple walking, if done daily can help lower your risk of heart
disease. So, be sure to add physical activity into your daily routine.
More vigorous exercise dos have added benefits such as improving the overall
fitness of both heart and lungs. Swimming, brisk walking, running and
jumping rope are what is called “aerobic” activity. This means
that the body uses oxygen to help make the energy it is producing. These
exercises improve the overall condition of both heart and lungs if performed
at the right intensity for at least 30 minutes three to four times a week.
Do the thirty minutes at once or break it into two 15 minutes or even
three ten minute periods. Just do some aerobic activity each week.
Most people don't need to see a doctor before they start exercising, since
a gradual, sensible exercise program has few health risks. But if you
have any of the following health concerns such as high blood pressure,
pain or a feeling of pressure in your chest or shoulder area, have a tendency
to feel dizzy or faint, get breathless after a mild workout or are over
40 have not been active and are planning a vigorous exercise program,
you should check with your doctor first. Otherwise, get out, get active,
and get fit -- and help prevent high blood pressure.
Choose Foods Lower In Salt and Sodium
Americans have the highest rates of high blood pressure in the world.
Partly due to the fact that they eat more salt (sodium chloride) and other
forms of sodium than they need.
Frequently, when people with high blood pressure cut back on salt their
blood pressure falls. Limiting salt and sodium intake can keep blood pressure
from rising. The elderly and many African Americans are more adversely
affected by high sodium intake. Since there is no practical way to predict
who will be adversely affect by sodium, limiting salt and sodium to prevent
high blood pressure makes sense.
Everyone, especially people with high blood pressure should limit their
sodium intake to 2,400 milligrams—about the amount in 6 grams of
salt. Most Americans eat between 4,000 and 6,000 milligrams of sodium
a day. Don’t forget to count the salt in processed foods and that
added during cooking when keeping track of your sodium intake.
Here are a few suggestions for teaching your taste buds to like less salty
Check food labels for the
amount of sodium in foods. Choose those lower in sodium whenever possible.
Buy fresh, plain frozen, or
canned "no salt added" vegetables. Use fresh poultry, fish
and lean meat, rather than canned or processed types.
Use herbs, spices, and salt-free
seasoning blends for cooking and on the dining room instead of salt
Cook rice, pasta, and hot
cereals without salt. Cut back on instant or flavored rice, pasta,
and cereal mixes because they usually have added salt.
foods that are lower in sodium. Cut back on frozen dinners, pizza,
packaged mixes, canned soups or broths, and salad dressings, which
frequently contain large amounts of sodium.
When available, buy low- or
reduced- sodium, or "no-salt-added" versions of foods like
soups, vegetables and vegetable juices, low-fat cheeses, margarine,
condiments, crackers and baked goods, processed lean meats, and snack
Rinse canned foods like tuna
to remove some of the sodium.
If You Drink Alcoholic Beverages, Do So In Moderation
Alcohol can raise your blood pressure and can contribute to developing
high blood pressure. If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit yourself
to two drinks a day. The “Dietary Guidelines for Americans”
recommends that women limit their alcohol intake to only 1 drink daily.
So, exactly what constitutes a drink?
- 1 1/2 ounces of 80-proof or 1 ounce of 100-proof whiskey.
- 5 ounces of wine.
- 12 ounces of beer (regular or light).
News reports have carried stories claiming that small amounts of alcohol
are good for your heart health. Many reports say that people drinking
one or two drinks a have lower blood pressure and live longer than non-drinkers
or people who drink excessively. Other news reports claim that wine raises
the levels of “good” cholesterol and can prevent the build
up of fat in the arteries.
While these news reports may be accurate, they don’t tell the whole
story. Consuming too much alcohol can lead to a host of other health problems
such as car accidents, liver and pancreas diseases, heart and brain damage,
an increased risk of fetal alcohol syndrome and an increased risk of many
cancers. Also, alcohol is high in calories—another very good reason
to limit how much you drink.
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