Your blood pressure is an important indicator of your health. High blood pressure does not immediately cause symptoms. If your blood pressure is too high for a long time it can have harmful consequences.
What is too high?
Your heart pumps blood around your veins. The force with which that happens causes pressure in the veins. If that pressure is too high, then you have high blood pressure. The blood pressure meter measures an under pressure and an upper pressure. The under pressure indicates the blood pressure when the heart relaxes, the upper pressure indicates the blood pressure when the heart contracts.
An upper pressure between 120 and 140 mmHg and an underpressure between 70 and 80 mmHg is considered ideal. Your blood pressure is constantly changing. When you exercise, get angry or get nervous, it rises, when you sit down or sleep, it gets lower.
What you can do to yourself to lower your blood pressure?
There are medicines that can lower your blood pressure. But you can also do a lot yourself to keep your blood pressure low.
1. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise is the best thing you can do for your blood pressure. That does not mean that you have to work out intensively, but jogging, walking, cycling and gardening are also great. Try to exercise for half an hour every day. Strength training can also help you to keep your blood pressure in the green numbers. It is recommended to do strength training twice a week.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
Losing weight, if only a few pounds, can already help you to lower your blood pressure. Belly fat in particular is unhealthy and is associated with the risk of high blood pressure.
3. Eat less salt
Eating too much salt is not healthy. Not at all if your blood pressure is on the high side. Try to add as little salt as possible and to avoid junk food and ready meals. Read the labels and see how much salt or sodium a product contains.
4. Follow a healthy diet
The Mediterranean diet is known as healthy for the heart and blood vessels. It consists of lots of fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs, nuts and seeds, whole-grain products, fish, crustaceans and shellfish and olive oil. Little dairy, cheese and lean meat. Added sugars and processed products are avoided as much as possible.
Chronic stress can cause high blood pressure. Moreover, stress ensures that you start drinking alcohol or eat unhealthy food earlier. Avoid situations that cause stress and teach yourself relaxation techniques or breathing exercises. Try to make more time available for things that you really enjoy and that you relax.
6. Drink less alcohol
Low alcohol has a temporary positive effect on blood pressure. It dilates blood vessels, reducing the pressure. But if you drink too much (men more than two glasses a day and women more than one glass) then it has a negative effect. It can also reduce the effect of blood pressure medicines.
7. Do not smoke
Smoking narrows the blood vessels and causes a higher blood pressure after smoking every cigarette.
8. Gently with caffeine
Coffee, but also tea (real tea, no herbal tea), cola and chocolate contain caffeine. After drinking a cup of coffee, your blood pressure temporarily increases. This is especially true for people who don’t drink coffee often. The effect diminishes with people who regularly drink coffee. Do you want to know how you react to caffeine? Then check your blood pressure half an hour after drinking coffee.
9. Eat more products that contain potassium
Potassium is an important mineral. It helps your body get rid of sodium which reduces the pressure in your blood vessels. Foods rich in potassium are: leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, bananas, avocados, oranges, dairy, salmon, tuna, nuts, seeds and legumes.
10. Take less sugar
In recent years, too much added sugar has increasingly been linked to high blood pressure. Several studies have shown that low carbohydrate diets lower blood pressure while high-sugar and processed carbohydrate foods raise your blood pressure.