Most Americans are no strangers to high blood pressure. Either you are currently dealing with it yourself, have experienced it in the past, or you know someone who is trying to lower their own. With highly processed, high-sodium foods ready for us in just minutes at the fast food restaurant just down the block, it’s no wonder the typical American’s lifestyle sets us up for high blood pressure. Thankfully, simple dietary changes can help us manage our numbers. Here are two of them:
1) Lower your sodium intake. According to the FDA and http://Bpmonitoradvisor.com/, Americans consume about 3,400 mg of sodium each day. However, the recommended amount is no more than 2,300 mg. If you’re trying to lower blood pressure, aim for 1,800 mg of sodium or less in a day. Ways to get your sodium intake down include cooking your own meals, opting for whole foods instead of processed foods, and choosing low or reduced sodium options when you do buy packaged items. Eating foods that have natural diuretic effects such as asparagus, dandelion root, oats, and cranberry juice will also help you to lower your blood pressure.
2) Stay hydrated. This goes hand-in-hand with the sodium issue. If you aren’t drinking enough water each day, your body will use the salt you consume to hold onto whatever water is being ingested (this is water retention). This can lead to dehydration, a common culprit of high blood pressure. To ensure you’re getting at least 8 glasses of water in per day, try bringing a glass of water to the table with each meal and carrying a water bottle with you when you go out. Take several sips at red lights. Also, swap out drinks like soda and alcohol for water- you’ll be hydrating yourself and reducing your sodium intake at the same time.
These tips will get you started on the path to lowering your blood pressure. Please remember to consult with a doctor before starting an intense exercise regime or making significant changes in your diet.