There’s nothing like hearing those words “You’ve got high blood pressure” to make you sit up and take notice. Suddenly the thought of being on medication for the rest of your life is the kick up the bum you needed to start making lifestyle changes, but where do you start?
Studies have revealed increasing your intake of minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium can play a part in reducing hypertension. Bananas are choc-full of potassium, available all year round and relatively cheap, providing Queensland’s cyclone season hasn’t decimated the crops.
Other potassium-rich foods include
- Dried apricots
- Potatoes with their skin on
Supersize your sleep
Sleep deprivation can be linked to high blood pressure. If you’re only snatching five hours or less a night, you could be putting yourself at risk of high blood pressure. Your blood helps regulate your nervous system and stress hormones, so aim to get about seven to eight hours a night.
Yumm, now there’s an excuse to always have chocolate in the fridge. If anyone casts disparaging looks and gives you the “Do you really think you should be eating that?” lecture. Your answer can be an enthusiastic, “Abso-freakin’-lutely!” Dark chocolate and cocoa-rich food is believed to reduce blood pressure, not significantly, but University of Adelaide studies showed the subjects who ate the dark chocolate had better results than those taking a placebo.
Become a spice girl
It’s time to ditch the salt. Yes we know some foods just taste bland without it but too much salt is a leading cause of high blood pressure. Garlic powder, onion powder, lemon or lime juice, pepper and Braggs Liquid aminos are great alternatives to replace salt.
Who needs an excuse to get snuggly? University of North Carolina studies found cuddles and kisses reduce blood pressure. A daily dose of oxytocin triggered by hugging can help reduce stress, therefore reducing blood pressure. It is believed women benefit from cuddles more than men do. Although married men are said to be less stressed (some would probably beg to differ on that fact).
You need to move it, move it! You need at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity a day. Aerobic activity is any activity that gets your blood pumping and increases your breathing. Go for a brisk walk, just 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes after work can make a big difference. You don’t need to join a gym.