Did you know that your diet plays a big role in helping to reduce high blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart disease. It’s not all bad news though as making some simple changes to your diet & lifestyle may lower your blood pressure for the better, so make a real effort to start living longer as of today!
SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO?
One of the first things you should consider is limit the amount of salt you eat. The following guidelines should help you to keep your blood pressure under control.
- Don’t add further salt to your food both during and after cooking. Many foods already contain salt so there is no need to actually add extra.
- Avoid high salt foods. Let’s face it, most pre packaged foods such as soups, seasonings and sauces are very high in salt & alternatives such as natural juices e.g lime/lemon juice or herbs and spices can really flavor your food for the better minus all that extra salt.
- Limit the amount of salty foods you consume, such as salted peanuts, chips, savory biscuits, processed meats. It will also pay to start reading the labels on all packaged foods and try to keep your daily intake of salt to around 2000mg. Sonja, our club dietitian usually recommends foods that are less than 200mg sodium per 100 grams food which is considered a low salt food…. again, you get this info from reading food labels. Start choosing low salt, reduced salt or no added salt food products.
- Try reducing your salt gradually as it can be difficult to go cold turkey with salt if it is something you consume a lot of, even if you didn’t know that you were. Your taste buds will adjust over time, you just have to stick with it and be aware of how much is too much.
Do your best to also limit your alcohol consumption as even a small amount of alcohol will increase blood pressure levels & really alcohol is very high in calories with very little nutritional benefit so try mixing it up a little with other non alcoholic beverages.
Here is another one you are going to love – Control your weight! Carrying extra body fat increases your risk of developing many serious health problems that we have already discussed on this site & high blood pressure with elevated cholesterol levels are to name just a few.
Controlling your weight is a simple equation really. Calories In equals Energy Out. We can help you with the information you need to assess how many food calories/kilojoules you should be consuming on a day to day basis to lose, maintain or gain weight and complement that with the Energy Out part so that all is working well together.
Try to also reduce the calories consumed from fat as fat contains twice as many calories/kilojoules as protein or carbohydrates so reducing the amount of fat you consume daily should be a priority. Remember, that if more energy goes in to your body than the amount of energy out you will increase your body fat levels and gain weight, so it’s helpful to know how much you actually can consume to achieve whatever your personal goals are.
Avoid smoking and take time out everyday to relax and de-stress! The modern lifestyle has led to many stresses so take time to smell the roses.
Finally – Be Active. Exercise burns energy, and energy is both the food we eat and our body fat stored. Regular exercise also helps to control your blood pressure and maintain good health so try to be physically active on most days of the week & aim for vigorous exercise to be at least 3-4 of these sessions.
Remember to download our free e-book for further information on exercise programming and eating for health and exercise.
It is important to see your doctor before commencing any new exercise program to be safe.