The things you do and the foods you eat have a big effect on your blood pressure and your overall health. The right lifestyle can lower your blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, then the right lifestyle can make the medicines work better. It can also lower the chances that you’ll have a heart attack or stroke, or develop kidney disease
Here’s what you can do:
- Lose weight (if you are overweight)
- Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, and low in meats, sweets, and refined grains
- Eat less salt (sodium)
- Do something active for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week
- Limit the amount of alcohol
- Quit smoking
Start low and go slow
The changes listed above might sound like a lot, but don’t worry you don’t have to change everything all at once. The key to improving your lifestyle is to “start low and go slow.” Choose 1 small, specific thing to change and try doing it for a while. If it works for you, keep doing it until it becomes a habit. If it doesn’t, don’t give up. Choose something else to change and see how that goes.
When people think about losing weight, they sometimes make it more complicated than it really is. To lose weight, you have to either eat less or move more. If you do both of those things, it’s even better. But there is no single weight-loss diet or activity that’s better than any other. When it comes to weight loss, the most effective plan is the 1 that you’ll stick with.
Improve your diet
There is no single diet that is right for everyone. But in general, a healthy diet can include:
- Lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Some beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, and similar foods
- Some nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, and peanuts
- Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Some fish
The most important thing you can do to cut down on sodium is to eat less processed food. That means that you should avoid most foods that are sold in cans, boxes, jars, and bags. You should also eat in restaurants less often. Don’t try to cut out salt all at once. Instead, choose 1 or 2 foods that have a lot of sodium and try to replace them with low-sodium choices. When you get used to those low-sodium options, find another food or 2 to change.
Become more active
If you want to be more active, you don’t have to go to the gym or get all sweaty. It is possible to increase your activity level while doing everyday things you enjoy. Walking, gardening, and dancing are just a few of the things that you might try. The key is not to do too much too fast. If you don’t do any activity now, start by walking for just a few minutes every other day. Do that for a few weeks. If you stick with it, try doing it for longer. But if you find that you don’t like walking, try a different activity.