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An unhealthy lifestyle will raise your blood pressure over time. And the higher your blood pressure becomes, the higher your risk of having a stroke or heart attack in the future.
But the good news is that if you have high blood pressure, healthy changes will help to bring it down. And you don't have to wait until you have high blood pressure to make healthy lifestyle changes. The more you can reduce your blood pressure, the lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke will be.
Video - How to lower your blood pressure
1. Blood Pressure Diet - Eat less salt
Too much salt raises your blood pressure, so it is important to eat as little as possible. In fact, some people with high blood pressure may be able to avoid blood pressure medicines by cutting down on salt.
Most of the salt you eat is not what you add to your food, but is in prepared foods like bread, breakfast cereals and ready meals.
Don’t add salt to food when cooking or at the table. When shopping for food, check the labels and choose low-salt options when you can.
2. Blood Pressure Diet - Eat more fruit and vegetables
Eating more fruit and vegetables helps to lower your blood pressure. Adults should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. A portion is 80 grams, or roughly the size of your fist.
Try to eat a range of different fruits and vegetables. Dried, frozen and tinned are fine, but watch out for added salt, sugar or fats.
3. Blood Pressure Diet - Keep to a healthy weight
Losing weight, if you need to, will help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of health problems. The best way to lose weight is to choose more low-fat and low-calorie foods, and increase your physical activity.
Set yourself realistic goals. Make small changes to your eating habits and activity levels that you can keep to for life.
4. Blood Pressure Diet - Drink less alcohol
If you drink too much alcohol, this will raise your blood pressure over time. The current recommended limits are 14 units of alcohol a week for men and women. A unit is roughly half a pint of beer or cider, a small glass of wine, or a single pub measure of spirits.
If you keep to the recommended alcohol limits, this should help keep your blood pressure down.
5. Blood Pressure and Exercise - Get more active
Being moderately active for 30 minutes five times a week can keep your heart healthy, and can lower your blood pressure. If you can’t find 30 minutes in your day, increasing your activity by even a small amount can help.
Think about how you can be more active in your daily life. Any activity that leaves you feeling warm and slightly out of breath is ideal.