Often, when we talk about healthy lifestyle choices, we’re talking about diet and exercise tips that help you lose weight or maintain your weight. After all, being overweight is linked to many serious health conditions, so it makes sense to focus on that.
However, even if you fall into the expected weight range for your height and body type, you can still be at risk of serious health problems. So, maybe you don’t have to worry about your weight, or you’ve already lost weight and you’re feeling fantastic… But high blood pressure (hypertension) can sneak up on anyone. And since hypertension is linked to cardiovascular disease, taking steps to lower your blood pressure is a smart idea for everyone.
Luckily, there are three lifestyle changes you can make, to help control blood pressure and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Watch out for sodium. Unfortunately, many of the foods we eat are packed with added sodium, and we tend not to notice it. This is especially the case with packaged and processed foods. Since going over the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 2,300 milligrams of sodium is linked with high blood pressure, monitor your intake and keep it lower than those levels. You might be surprised at how many otherwise healthy-looking people are eating way too much sodium!
If you’ve already been diagnosed with hypertension, your RDA is actually 1,500 milligrams.
Eat your fruits and veggies. Eating four to six servings of fresh produce every day can prevent a whole host of health problems, including hypertension. So, hit up the salad bar at lunch time, and remember to carry a piece of fruit for easy snacking.
Cut back on alcoholic beverages. While some studies seem to suggest that a small amount of alcohol is linked to lower blood pressure, others conclude that alcohol intake can contribute to hypertension. Moderation is probably the key here; no more than one alcoholic beverage per day is probably okay (unless you have other health conditions that make alcohol off limits). If you’re drinking more than that, reduce your intake to protect your long-term health.
Of course, weight is still a powerful predictor of your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. If you have questions about weight loss or nutrition, give us a call to schedule an appointment. We can screen you for various weight-related health disorders, and make recommendations for lifestyle changes to help you improve your health and prevent disease.