The usual advice still holds—cut down on salt, quit smoking, eat lots of fruits and veggies, and do cardio exercise—but some of the new recommendations are even easier to follow.
1. Eat low-fat, low-sugar yogurt
People who ate one or more 6-ounce servings of yogurt twice a week over 14 years were about 31 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than people who didn't eat yogurt, found a recent study.
2. Lift weights
In a study, women who pumped iron cut systolic blood pressure (SBP; the first number) by 5 points and diastolic (DBP; the second) by 9 points—and the effects lasted longer after the workout than for women who did cardio. Get the best of both worlds by doing both kinds of exercise, alternating days
3. Eat a healthy diet
Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
It isn't easy to change your eating habits, but with these tips, you can adopt a healthy diet:
Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat, even for just a week, can shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor what you eat, how much, when and why.
Consider boosting potassium. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements. Talk to your doctor about the potassium level that's best for you.
Be a smart shopper. Make a shopping list before heading to the supermarket to avoid picking up junk food. Read food labels when you shop and stick to your healthy-eating plan when you're dining out, too.
Cut yourself some slack. Although the DASH diet is a lifelong eating guide, it doesn't mean you have to cut out all of the foods you love. It's OK to treat yourself occasionally to foods you wouldn't find on a DASH diet menu, such as a candy bar or mashed potatoes with gravy.
4.Reduce sodium in your diet
Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg. The recommendations for reducing sodium are:
Limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less.
A lower sodium level — 1,500 mg a day or less — is appropriate for people 51 years of age or older, and individuals of any age who are African-American or who have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
5.Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. In small amounts, it can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg. But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much alcohol — generally more than one drink a day for women and men older than age 65, or more than two a day for men age 65 and younger.
Also, if you don't normally drink alcohol, you shouldn't start drinking as a way to lower your blood pressure. There's more potential harm than benefit to drinking alcohol.
If you drink more than moderate amounts of it, alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of high blood pressure medications.
The good news: There are plenty of out-of-the-box ways to bring your numbers down. While these aren't giving you license to abandon your healthy eating habits or doctor-prescribed meds, these tips are license to enjoy life—and lower your BP while doing it.Supportive family and friends can help improve your health. They may encourage you to take care of yourself, drive you to the doctor's office or embark on an exercise program with you to keep your blood pressure low. Talk to your family and friends about the dangers of high blood pressure.