Tips for Lowering Blood Pressure

By: Catherine G., RDN, LD


High blood pressure affects almost half of American adults. Lowering blood pressure can protect you from heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, eye disease, and memory problems. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to manage your blood pressure. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Be physically active. Being active helps the heart get stronger which lowers blood pressure. Aim for 30 minutes of activity most days and 3 sessions of resistance training each week. You can break it up into 5 to 10-minute segments throughout the day.
  • Aim for a healthy weight. Losing even 5-10 pounds can ease the stress on the heart. If you are overweight, losing weight can also lower the risk for other health issues.
  • Eat more potassium-rich foods. Most fruits and veggies are good sources of potassium. Potassium can also be found in beans, dried fruit, and dairy. However, you may need to limit potassium if you have kidney disease. Talk to your healthcare provider and dietitian if you have questions.
  • Stop using tobacco products if you do and avoid secondhand smoke. Chemicals in tobacco can damage the artery walls making them stiff and harder to pump blood. This includes cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snus, e-cigs, and even secondhand smoke.
  • Limit alcohol intake. Drinking too much alcohol can cause weight gain from extra calories, disrupt sleep, and affect medications, including blood pressure medicines. The American Heart Association recommends no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women.
  • Reduce caffeine. Some people are more sensitive to its effects than others. Some may see an improvement in their blood pressure by cutting back on coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks. Also be watchful of energy drinks. Research shows that energy drinks can increase blood pressure up to 4 hours after and cause the heart to beat abnormally.
  • Get enough sleep. Many adults don’t get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Not getting enough sleep can affect blood pressure, blood sugar, stress, and your immune system. Here are some suggestions to promote better sleep:
    • Stick to a sleep schedule
    • Dim the lights in the evening to get your body prepared
    • Exercise during the day
    • Avoid all screens 30 minutes before bed
  • Eat less sodium. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg each day for all individuals. For people with high blood pressure, the recommendation is ideally no more than 1,500 mg a day. On average, Americans eat more than 3,400 mg per day. Once you eat less sodium, your taste buds will adjust to the new flavor. Start with small changes:
      • Check food labels. Some of the biggest sources of sodium are processed foods like frozen meals, breads, cold cut meats, condiments, canned soups, and other prepackaged foods.
      • Replace higher sodium foods with low sodium or home cooked options. Fresh, frozen, and low sodium canned fruits and vegetables are all great options.
      • Other varieties of salt like kosher, sea salt, and pink Himalayan salt also contain sodium. Check their labels for how much.
      • Learn how to use spices, herbs, and citrus to add more flavor without salt.
      • Use the DayTwo app to track your sodium intake which can be found in your diary
  • Reduce stress. When you are stressed, your body releases hormones that increase blood pressure. Try adding things into your daily routine that can help reduce stress:
        • Deep breathing
        • Tai Chi
        • Yoga
        • Meditation
        • Journaling
        • Visualization

You don’t have to make all these changes at once to see improvement in your blood pressure. Focus on one or two small changes and build from there. Talk to your DayTwo team for ideas on where to start.



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