By Mindy Longhurst
High blood pressure is a major concern for many Americans. It can lead to cardiovascular disease, strokes and even heart attacks. There are many proactive steps that can be taken to lower high blood pressure. Some of these proactive steps are listed below.
Reach and maintain a healthy weight
One of the best ways to reduce high blood pressure is to stay at a healthy weight. Living at a healthy weight helps to increase energy levels and helps to reduce the strain on the heart.
Decrease sodium intake
Sodium causes extra water to enter the blood vessels, making it harder on the heart for the blood to be pumped. This can cause the blood pressure to increase. A simple way to decrease sodium is to cook with less sodium. Aim to consume less than 1,500 mg/day of sodium.
Increase potassium intake
Potassium helps the body to decrease the effects of sodium. Increasing potassium also allows the body to get the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Foods like oranges, lima beans and mushrooms have high levels of potassium. Aim for 3,500-5,000 mg of potassium each day.
Be more physically active
Doctors recommend having 90-150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. Examples of aerobic exercise include running, biking, swimming, hiking and dancing. Doctors also recommend isometric exercise three times a week. Exercise can be more enjoyable when done with a neighbor, friend or spouse. Start exercising today!
Reduce or limit stress level
Meditation is a great way to reduce stress levels because it is simple and quick. Meditation allows the brain and body to relax and to refocus. Sleeping and taking care of the body is another way to limit or reduce the current stress level.