Four tips for healthy blood pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension can often be prevented or treated.

In the month of February, we are reminded about heart health. Michigan State University Extension and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have some positive messages to keep us all aware and mindful of how to stay healthy.

Begin by getting a blood check, according to the NIH about one in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure but many don’t realize it. The good news is that high blood pressure or hypertension can often be prevented or treated. Blood pressure is affected by time of day, exercise, the foods you eat, stress and other factors. Problems can arise, though, if your blood pressure stays too high for too long.

For healthy blood pressure follow these four guidelines:

  1. Keep a healthy weight- Your doctor or health professional can help you determine your goal weight. NIH reports that the DASH diet which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is not a diet to go on for a short period of time but one that’s meant to be part of a healthy lifestyle and enjoyed for life.
  2. Be physically active- Adults need to be active for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. Find your ideal activity and stick to it, exercise can be fun if you find an activity that you enjoy doing. Things like dancing, yoga and walking are all examples of exercise activities that are beneficial to our health. Commit to moving more every day.
  3. Cut down on salt- Older adults may have difficulty tasting the flavors in foods and salt enhances it. However, high blood pressure dictates that we reduce our sodium intake. So try some of these ideas to help adjust your taste buds; it will take about six weeks to get used to this but in the end, it will improve your blood pressure. Eat less processed foods and more fresh foods and use less salt when you cook. Add less salt at the table, keeping in mind that salt may be in ketchup and other sauces, not just the salt shaker.
  4. Lastly, get a good night’s sleep- Let your doctor know if you snore or have disruption to your sleep. Sleep is important to our health.  Keep your heart healthy and make improvements that will be long lasting.

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