Kauvery Hospital | Patient Newsletters | 9 Lifestyle changes that can reduce Hypertension

1. Follow a healthy diet plan

See a nutritionist and follow a well-balanced diet with adequate amounts of:

  • Proteins
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Fats (body needs a small amount of fat)
  • Carbohydrates (body needs this for energy)

Tips for a healthy diet plan

  • Keep a food diary and write down what you eat at every meal
  • Read food labels and compare calories
  • Eat 5 or 6 small meals instead of 3 large ones
  • Drink a glass of water before you eat
  • Don't keep junk food in the house

2. Keep cholesterol in check

There are two types of cholesterol-good and bad.

Avoid foods high in bad cholesterol like:

  • Red meats
  • Rich dairy products
  • Refined flour
  • Refined sugar

Have foods that are high in good cholesterol like:

  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • White meats

3. Reduce sodium in diet

  • Limit sodium to less than 2,300 (mg) a day or less
  • Small reduction in the sodium diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm

Tips to decrease sodium intake

  • Increase potassium levels in body
  • Choose low sodium food at the supermarket
  • Lessen intake of processed or canned foods
  • Reduce salted meats
  • Avoid adding salt when cooking; add at the table

4. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink

It would be a good idea to stop drinking as it can:

  • Raise blood pressure
  • Add calories
  • Reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications

(Note: small amounts (a glass per day) can lower blood pressure)

Tips to decrease sodium intake

  • Increase potassium levels in body
  • Choose low sodium food at the supermarket
  • Lessen intake of processed or canned foods
  • Reduce salted meats
  • Avoid adding salt when cooking; add at the table

5. Exercise regularly

This should include activities that are:

a. Aerobic exercises like:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Dancing

b. Toning exercises (Increases stamina;reduces strain on the heart)

Tips to help keep to an exercise plan:

  • Find an exercise program suited for you
  • Join group exercise (It is fun to exercise in company)
  • Exercise during the part of the day that suits you best
  • Change the exercise to prevent monotony

6. Quit smoking

  • A cigarette increases blood pressure for many minutes after you finish.
  • Quitting smoking helps blood pressure return to normal.
  • People who quit smoking have substantial increases in life expectancy.

7. Reduce stress

Chronic stress contributes to high blood pressure.

By-products of stress which increase blood pressure are:

  • Binge eating
  • Drinking
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine

Tips to reduce stress

  • Move away from situations that overwhelm you
  • Bring expectations down
  • Meditate
  • Deep breathing before handling a situation can help
  • Stretching exercise and yoga are good de-stressors
  • Introspect and understand stress triggers

8. Monitor your blood pressure

  • Get a blood pressure apparatus; check pressure twice a day
  • See your doctor regularly and get checked up
  • Take medications regularly
  • Follow doctor's instructions consistently

9. Get support

  • Talk to your family about your condition
  • Take a family member with you to visit the doctor
  • Take advantage of family counseling or couple counseling
  • Join support groups that can help you stay on track to a healthier lifestyle

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