How to Control Your Blood Pressure

Hypertension is another term used to describe high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, and early death. You are more likely to have high blood pressure as you get older. This is because your blood vessels become stiffer as you age. When that happens, your blood pressure goes up. Here are tips on how to control your blood pressure.

Lose Weight.

Get your BMI(body mass index, a measurement of weight in relation to height) into the range of 18.5-24.9, and you will be doing your heart and blood pressure a favor. Think of it this way: Extra weight you carry around is like bricks in a backpack, putting pressure on every part of your body. Eat plenty of whole grains. Have seven to eight servings per day of grains and grain products (these can include breakfast cereal, whole grain bread, rice, pasta, etc.)

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Having at least eight to 10 servings of a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables will ensure you get all the healthy antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need. Dairy up. Consuming two to three servings daily of low-fat or nonfat diary foods will also help build strong bones and teeth, and enhance weight loss. Limit meat, fish, and poultry to two servings a day.

Move the meat off the center of your plate

And enjoy more grains and produce. When you do have meats, fish, and poultry, always chose lean varieties. Incorporate four to five servings a week of nuts, seeds,and legumes into your diet. They provide plenty of protein and healthful fats. Limit fats and oil to two to three servings per day. Fats are the most concentrated source of calories. Limiting them will help you control your weight.

Limit your sodium intake to approximately 2,400 milligrams a day (a moderate level).

This means eating fewer canned and processed foods, and more fresh foods. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink: Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. In small amounts, it can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg. But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much alcohol generally more than one drink a day for women and men older than age 65, or more than two a day for men age 65 and younger.

Also, if you don't normally drink alcohol, you shouldn't start drinking as a way to lower your blood pressure. There's more potential harm than benefit to drinking alcohol. If you drink more than moderate amounts of it, alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of high blood pressure medications.

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