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How do I decrease my risk of developing high blood pressure?

In my previous blog I spoke about what hypertension is, but I’m sure you are also wondering what causes hypertension and how you can prevent it.

There are various risk factors for high blood pressure which include the following:

- Family history

- Age

- Physical inactivity

- Consuming an unhealthy diet

- Being overweight or obese

- Smoking and tobacco use

- Drinking too much alcohol

In order to decrease your risk of developing hypertension in the future or to decrease your blood pressure, here are a few preventative guidelines that you can follow.

Just by making a few lifestyle changes, you can prevent and improve your blood pressure if you:

  • Consume a healthy, balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and low fat dairy. It is also important to limit your intake of red meat, processed foods, sugar sweetened beverages and refined carbohydrates.

  • Limit your intake of salt. Decrease the amount of salt added during cooking and at the table. Use fresh herbs, dried herbs, sodium free spices, fresh garlic, ginger, chili and lemon juice. Limit the use of packet soups, stock cubes, gravies, cheese, cereals, breads, salty snacks, processed meats and takeaway foods.

  • Do regular physical activity

  • Stop smoking. When you consume a cigarette, your blood pressure increases. If you are a chronic smoker this can cause more damage to your blood vessels and lead to chronic high blood pressure.

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight

  • Manage your stress levels. Find methods that help decrease your stress levels. Colouring in, reading a book, meditating or doing exercise, such as yoga, pilates, walking and jogging can help reduce your stress levels

  • Limit alcohol intake. Regular alcohol consumption can increase your blood pressure, thus should be limited and not consumed regularly.

As you can see, a lot of it has to do with your lifestyle. In society today, it is difficult to live a healthy lifestyle because individuals are a lot more sedentary and live very busy and stressful lives.

After a long day at work we often choose not to exercise and pick unhealthy ready-made meals and take away foods instead of cooking healthy balanced meals at home. These takeaway foods and ready-made meals are often not providing us with the nutrients we need and are packed with salt and sugar.

If you know that you are at risk of developing high blood pressure, whether it being because your family members have it or if you work long hours, are stressed, sedentary and often make unhealthy food choices then this blog is for you.

Just by making a few healthier choices, you can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure In the future. Make today your first day of forming a healthier habit, don't wait until Monday to make that change.

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