1. Salt intakeReduce salt intake to less than 6g per day. This is roughly the amount of one teaspoon. Also take note that some foods, particularly processed and packaged foods, contain sodium instead of table salt. Table salt is approximately 40% sodium and as such the daily intake for sodium is much lower. It’s recommended that it should not be more than 1500mg to 2300mg per day. So always make a point to check your food labels for sodium content. You can also reduce your intake of salt by reducing intake or having small amounts of foods that contain high salt such as:
- salted and dry-roasted nuts
- salt fish
- smoked meat and fish
- soy sauce
- stock cubes
- yeast extract
2. Eat a balanced dietYour diet should be low in fat and contain plenty of fruits and veggies. Your diet should also contain natural sources of potassium which is important in controlling blood pressure as it lessens the effects of sodium. The recommended daily intake of potassium for an average adult is about 4.7g per day. Some foods rich in potassium include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Tomatoes, Tomato juice and tomato sauce (without added salt or sugar)
- Lima beans
- Oranges and orange juice
- Apricots and apricot juice
- Raisins and dates
- Fat-free or low-fat milk
- Fat-free yogurt
- Whole-grain, high-fiber foods
- Fat-free and low-fat or 1 percent dairy products
- Skinless poultry and lean meats
- Fish (especially fatty fish containing omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout and herring)
- Saturated and trans-fats
- Red Meat
- Sweets, added sugars and sugar-containing beverages
3. Do more exerciseLess active people likely to develop hypertension by 30-50% than active people. Thus increasing physical activity to moderate intensity for 30 minutes and above for at least 3 days per week, can reduce hypertension.
4. Lose weightIf you’re overweight or obese put effort to reduce your weight. You can know whether you have a healthy weight by using the BMI Calculator available here. You can achieve and maintain a healthy weight by having regular physical exercise combined with a healthy diet.
5. Reduce alcohol intakeMen should limit alcohol intake to two drinks per day while women and lighter-weight men to one drink per day.
6. CaffeineReduce intake of caffeine by cutting down on tea, caffeinated coffee, energy and soft drinks.
7. Quit smokingSmoking reduces the elasticity of arteries by hardening their walls making blood more likely to clot. Smoking also puts you at a greater risk of heart attack and stroke which means if you smoke and have high blood pressure, you will be at a significantly higher risk.
8. Get adequate sleepIdeally you should get at least 6 hours of sleep. Adequate sleep is key not just for your health but also general wellbeing.
9. Reduce and manage your stress levels
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