We’ve all dealt with those moments when our blood pressure rises. When we’re stressed, anxious or angry the blood vessels temporarily constrict and increase the heart rate. These situations are normal and no cause for concern.
However, chronic hypertension – when your blood pressure reading is constantly over 120/80 – indicates a serious health problem.
What causes high blood pressure?
Stresses, obesity, lack of exercise and/or sleep are known to be associated with the condition. Other causes are attributed to a lack of nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, CoEnzyme Q 10 and magnesium.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is the leading risk factor for both heart attacks and strokes so it’s important to reduce the risks.
1 Take your blood pressure daily
Take two readings a day, one first thing in the morning and one just after diner. When taking a reading, ensure that you are calm, avoid taking any caffeine during the day or doing any exercise 30-minutes prior to taking a measurement. Record your readings. The average pressure over a two-week period will be the most accurate reading.
2 Eat your way to health
We all love being told to eat more! A varied and colourful diet is key. Pack a portion of bananas or sweet potatoes for a potassium boost; oil rich salmon and sardines for all important omega 3 fatty acids and graze on greens like kale and spinach for a healthy dose of calcium.
3 Drink up!
Tea breaks are good for you. Researchers at Tuft University found that participants who sipped three cups of hibiscus tea a day lowered their blood pressure by an average of seven points within six weeks.
4 Boost your nutrients
As well as boosting the healthy goodies in your diet, diagnose your supplement needs with a blood test at your doctor’s and see if you need extra magnesium (found in dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds), Co Q10 (found in meat an fish), Omega-3 fatty acids ( found in fatty fish, dairy and eggs), L-arginine (found in lentils and whole grains), calcium or potassium (see 2 for helpful foods).
5 Step it up
Regular exercise can help lower your blood pressure, we’re not suggesting you go out and run a marathon. A daily 30-minute walk is all you need.
For more great tips on how to live a healthier lifestyle, download one of our handy Live Great Guides. To find out more, click here.