Knowing your blood pressure can save your life, said the British Heart Foundation (BHF). Consistently high readings are an indicator you’re at an increased risk of a stroke or heart attack. Medically known as hypertension, a blood pressure reading of 140/90mmHg or higher suggests you might need to make some lifestyle adjustments. Most people have their blood pressure checked at the GP’s surgery, and do you ever ask what your reading is?
Lifestyle choices can play a key part in blood pressure readings, with people more at risk of the condition if they:
- Don’t exercise
- Eat too much salt
- Drink too much alcohol
Unfortunately, some healthy adults can still be at risk of the condition if it has a genetic link.
However, leading a healthy lifestyle “may still be able to improve blood pressure”.
“High blood pressure is serious,” warned the BHF – it could cut years off your life.
The four key ways to help get your blood pressure down is to:
- Eat more fruit and vegetables
- Reduce how much alcohol you drink
- Be more active
- Lose weight
The BHF suggest dietary swaps that can help you achieve your goal of a healthy blood pressure reading.
For example, instead of crisps, chocolate or sweets, munch on fruit, unsalted nuts or popcorn.
Another key trick is to replace any salt on your good with pepper, herbs and spices.
As for increasing activity levels, the BHF suggest taking the stairs any time there is an opportunity to do so (if you’re able-bodied).
Another tip is to turn a leisurely stroll into a brisk walk, where you start to feel a bit warm.
As for cutting down on drinking alcohol, with coronavirus restrictions soon easing from April 12, opt for a half pint of beer instead of a full pint.
Even better, the next time you’re out for dinner, choose to have water instead.