High blood pressure can have serious complications including strokes, heart attacks, blindness and kidney failure.

It is therefore very important that you routinely have a blood pressure test performed.

If your systolic or diastolic readings are consistently higher than 120/80 mmHg, that means you have high blood pressure.

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Sure, there are medications which you can take to decrease your blood pressure, but I urge you to take responsibility for your condition.

Your lifestyle affects your blood pressure

There are lifestyle and diet changes that can lower your blood pressure, and you must strive to implement them. About 20–30% of hypertension prevalence can be attributed to obesity.

Studies have shown that an average weight loss of 5.1 kg were accompanied by a decrease of  4.4 and 3.6 mmHg, in systolic and diastolic pressures, respectively. Thus, even modest weight loss can prevent hypertension in overweight individuals with high normal BP and can facilitate medication step-down and drug withdrawal.

Method to decrease your blood pressure

Proven methods you can use to decrease your blood pressure include:

1. stop smoking

2. increase physical activity: aim for at least ½ an hour daily

3. reduce salt intake

4. increase potassium intake through increase in fruit and vegetable consumption

5. decrease saturated and total fat intake.

To lower your blood pressure through dietary means, you need to shift your body’s balance of sodium and potassium by bringing your sodium intake to under 1500 milligrams a day while raising your potassium intake to about 4700 milligrams.

Note: Diabetics, people with chronic kidney disease or taking a blood thinner should check with their doctor before increasing their potassium intake.

Foods to lower blood pressure

foods that lower blood pressure_3The following foods are recommended for lowering blood pressure naturally because of their high potassium content:

1. Bananas – these are very powerful blood-pressure-lowering fruits.
2. Peaches and nectarines
3. Kiwi fruit
4. Avocado
5. Sweet potato
6. Red bell pepper
7. Tilapia
8. Broccoli
9. Kale
10. Quinoa
11. White Beans

Yogurt – is another food which is advised for lowering blood pressure due to its high calcium content, which has also been shown, in research to decrease blood pressure.

Dark Chocolate – contains Polyphenols, a major class of bioactive phytochemicals which have been shown to protect against heart and vascular disease.

Flavonoids, a subclass of polyphenols account for about two-thirds of our polyphenol intake and are found in high concentration in dark chocolate, as well as in fruits and vegetables.

Two types of diet styles

Two types of diet styles have been used successfully for reducing blood pressure:

1- Dietary approach to stop hypertension (DASH) diet: can reduce systolic BP by 8–14 mmHg.

It is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts and low-fat dairy products, emphasizes an intake of fish and chicken rather than of red meat and is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar and refined carbohydrate.

2- The Mediterranean diet: adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a 26% lower risk of being hypertensive and with a 36% greater probability of controlling blood pressure.

Olive oil, vegetables, and fruits are the principal factors behind the overall effect of the Mediterranean diet on arterial blood pressure.

Taking charge of your blood pressure does not have to be difficult. It can be as easy as going back to the natural foods you were created to eat.

Decrease stress, get in some physical activity , and you’ll gradually find an improvement in your blood pressure and in your overall health!

Connect with Expert Dr. Hala Youssef 

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