Medications are critical when it comes to treating a health condition. However, people sometimes forget how important a change in lifestyle can improve our overall health and well-being. Hypertension is one of the many conditions that can be managed successfully by incorporating a good lifestyle with the right drug combination.
Here are five lifestyle modifications you can make to manage hypertension.
Change in diet
You may have heard of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. This diet is rich in fruits, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, beans, fish, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. It is low in sugars, sweets, fat, red meats, and refined grains.
The DASH diet encourages you to lower the amount of sodium in your diet by eating a variety of foods rich in nutrients that may help reduce high blood pressure.
Reduce salt intake
It is recommended to consume no more than 2400mg of sodium per day. Most, if not all, of the food we buy from the grocery stores already contains salt. One good habit to develop is to look at the salt content of each item by paying attention to the “nutrition label.”
Processed foods (anything cured, canned, or boxed) likely contain a very high salt content, and you should avoid them. When cooking, try to use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor the food. Eating out less in restaurants will also help reduce your salt intake.
Be more active. Try to do something around the house like gardening or any active task that you can do every day that you enjoy. Incorporating a little bit of exercise like walking each day for a few minutes and then slowly lengthening the time would help. It is recommended to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five or more days of the week.
If you are overweight or obese, your first goal should be to halt further weight gain. Then after that is reached, setting a weight loss goal is next.
To lose weight, you need to increase your activity or eat less but doing both is even better. There is no single diet plan or activity that is better than another. Any diet or physical activity that helps you reduce calorie intake will help as long as you stick with it.
Consume less alcohol
For women, it is recommended no more than one glass of wine or one bottle/can of beer per day. For men, not more than two.
For additional information: check www.heart.org
At The Kidney and Hypertension Center, we provide consultation and ongoing care for the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Schedule your appointment today!