When managing your Blood Pressure it is essential that you have a doctor on board as well. Regular check-ups are important to ensure that your medication (if you are on any) are closely monitored and that your Blood Pressure doesn't fall too low or go too high.
As the Heart Foundation has pointed out, the best ways to managing your blood pressure is to:
1) Monitor your weight - if you are overweight, losing even 10% of your body mass will make a HUGE difference your blood pressure and overall health (ie. so if you are 100kg, a 10kg weight loss is all you need!)
2) Enjoy regular exercise - make sure your doctor clears you for exercise before you go out exercising vigorously! Ideally, 30 minutes a day is needed to maintain general health - and this can be done in intervals or in one single lot (eg. 15 minute brisk walk in the morning and then a 15 minute swim in the afternoon).
3) Avoid/limit known substances that increase blood pressure. Eg:
- Salt (reads as sodium on the nutritional panel of food). If you add salt to your meals start weaning yourself off of it - your taste buds will generally adjust to the new flavour within weeks. Try using herbs and spices to flavour your meals instead. Limit salty foods (eg. crisps) and look out for the Heart Foundation Tick on products - or alternatively get used to reading the nutritional information panel on food as not every product carries the Heart Foundation Tick of Approval. If a product is less than 500mg of sodium per 100g is has a low salt content. If a product is 120mg or less then this product has NO ADDED SALT - keep an eye out for these products.
- Alcohol. If you do drink, limit your alcohol intake to a maximum of 10 standard drinks per week, including 2 alcohol free days (eg. 2 standard drinks a night 5x a week).
- Caffeine. If you drink caffeine containing drinks limit these to no more than 3 per day. Eg. 3 cups of coffee. Avoid caffeine dense drinks, such as energy drinks.
4) Drink plently of water - rehydrate your body and aim to drink between 6-8 glasses of water everyday (1.5-2L). This can include plain water, milk, soups, herbal tea etc (any fluids that do not contain alcohol or caffeine as these act as a diuretic). If you drink cordial, try the light/diet varieties so you don't hinder your weight loss attempts.
An Accredited Practicing Dietitian can help you implement these lifestyle changes.
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