Tips to Lowering Your Blood Pressure

Jan 25, 2018

By Barret Procyshyn

Everyone wants to strive for good blood pressure. The benefits of having a normal or even slightly low blood pressure are too many to name. But to be direct, keeping somewhere close to the gold standard of 120/80 may help you live a longer, happier life. Having high blood pressure, or what we call hypertension increases the risk for heart complications, stroke and will complicate your health if you have other chronic diseases. The issue with blood pressure is that even though it may be significantly elevated, you cannot feel this. You likely will not feel sick, tired, ill or any other health effects. Many find out they have elevated blood pressure when their pharmacist, doctor or nurse breaks the bad news to them. Here are a few tips to keeping it on track.

Listen to your health care professional

If your pharmacist or physician has directed you to take high blood pressure medication, take it and take it every day. If you need help keeping on track, ask your clinic pharmacist for tips and tricks to ensure taking your medications becomes part of an everyday routine. Have regular conversations with your health care provider about the type of medication you are using and what dose you are on.

Cut back the Sodium

Although restricting your salt intake does play an important role in lowering blood pressure naturally, the benefits of restricting salt will only have a modest effect on dropping the numbers. However, Canadians consume way too much salt and most of it comes from processed foods. Next time you are buying a can of soup or are eating a meal at a fast food restaurant find out how much salt is in it. It may surprise you. When cooking your own meals, pay attention to how much salt is in your cooking sauces or seasonings.

Increase Your Potassium

A banana a day could keep the blood pressure pills away. Studies are showing a diet high in potassium is even more important than a diet low in sodium. High potassium diets may drop your blood pressure by up to 10 points. Adding bananas or spinach to a smoothie, topping your salad with an avocado or baking a sweet potato are all sweet ways to get extra potassium.

Get rid of the bad artificial oils

Margarine is not a food product we should be consuming in large amounts; in fact, maybe in no amounts at all. Instead go for natural olive oil. Olive oil, a staple in the Mediterranean diet, is a good fat, which helps to increase our good cholesterol (HDL) and drop the bad cholesterol (LDL). In the end that should help lower our blood pressures. Please use caution when cooking with olive oil as it should be kept to a lower temperature. (it has a lower burning point than vegetable oils). Also consider using olive oil to make your own salad dressings or trying coconut oil in place of margarine.

"Un-sweeten" Your Diet

Cutting back sugars can really have a significant impact on dropping blood pressure. Not only is a sugar linked to high blood pressure, but it also increases the risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and other healthy conditions and implications. Instead of desserts or baking, enjoy fresh fruit in moderation, but make sure it has no added sugars. Try eating dark chocolate. You may find it very satisfying even though it has a lot less added sugar than a bar from the gas station. In fact, eating a small amount a day is associated with lower risk of heart attacks.

Keep Living Life

Just because you may have high blood pressure doesn't mean you need to stop living life to the fullest. Even better news you can still enjoy caffeine. Yes, you heard it here that a cup or two of coffee and the caffeine in it will not increase your blood pressure. I also often hear the myth that eggs are bad. Too much of anything can be bad but a couple of eggs for breakfast here and there may improve your health. Consuming fat containing foods in moderation is also likely just fine. Many low or zero fat foods are now loaded with lots of oils and additives which we can not pronounce so it better to just eat natural foods. A glass of wine or a beer on occasion is just fine too, if your blood pressure is under control at the time you would like to enjoy it. Finally keep living an active life. While a gym membership is a great way to get active, start simple. Take your dog or your husband for a 30 minute walk a few times a week. Use the DCP walking track and go for a few laps with friends. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise five days a week will work wonders.

If you have questions about your blood pressure or you blood pressure medication your clinic pharmacist is here to help seven days a week. DCP has an automated blood pressure machine in our store for complimentary use by our customers and sells a large selection of blood pressure monitors.

 


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