1. Invest in a home blood pressure monitor
It is wise to monitor your blood pressure at home, as well as your doctor’s office. Combining your readings with your doctor’s will provide a better measure of your high blood pressure and treatment to control it. Also, home monitoring will rule out if you suffer from white coat hypertension. Ideally, monitor your blood pressure at the same time every day.
2. Increase your potassium intake
Potassium works to balance out the sodium in your diet. An adequate potassium intake can lower systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Some good potassium sources include cantaloupe, bananas, dates, nuts, oranges, and green leafy vegetables. If you are taking diuretics (i.e. water pills) to lower blood pressure, the excess urination can cause loss of potassium for some diuretics.
3. Reduce caffeine intake
Limit caffeine from tea, coffee, soda, sports drinks, and chocolate to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Caffeine can lead to short, but significant increases in blood pressure.
4. Manage stress
Coping strategies to deal with stress can promote high blood pressure levels, such as overeating, smoking, and increased alcohol consumption. Implement stress management strategies to avoid these pitfalls.
5. Eat a diet rich in magnesium
Research has shown an inverse relationship between magnesium and blood pressure. Individuals with a high magnesium intake, typically have a low blood pressure. Some good sources of magnesium include peas, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, lima beans, squash, broccoli, spinach, and seafood.
Learn more about and implement the DASH diet to consume adequate levels of potassium and magnesium daily. For greatest success, implement changes gradually versus all at once.
6. Get adequate sleep
Research indicates insomnia may be linked to high blood pressure. Take steps to protect your sleep, such as going to bed and getting up at the same time every day (even on weekends), power down for one hour before bed (meaning no electronic devices), and have a regular bedtime ritual.
7. Lose weight
Being overweight or obese increases your risk for high blood pressure. As you gain weight, your blood pressure tends to rise. Weight loss of only ten pounds can positively impact blood pressure levels. Overweight is defined as a BMI of 25 to 29.9 and obesity is a BMI equal to or greater than 30.
Lisa Nelson RD, a registered dietitian since 1999, provides clients step-by-step guidance to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, so they can live life and enjoy their family for years to come. Because her own health is the foundation of her expertise, you can trust that Lisa will make it truly possible for you to see dramatic changes in your health, without unrealistic fads or impossibly difficult techniques. She can be found on Twitter @lisanelsonrd and Facebook at hearthealthmadeeasy.