This week, the UK’s biggest free blood pressure testing event is underway at “Pressure Stations” around the country.
According to charity Blood Pressure UK, we should all have a blood pressure below 120 over 80 (120/80).
Their Know Your Numbers! Week campaign encourages people to have theirs measured, to help them take the steps needed to keep them feeling well.
To help mark the event, we’ve featured 7 easy ways to improve your blood pressure.
Regular physical activity of around 30 minutes on most days of the week is a really good way to lower your blood pressure. In particular, it can help prevent slightly elevated levels getting too high.
Check with your doctor if you have concerns about exercising. However, the best types of keep fit for this include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Strength training can also help. Pick something you enjoy and you’ll be more inclined to stick with it.
Studies show drinking a glass of beetroot juice daily for four weeks is enough to reduce blood pressure, and the benefits grow week by week. For best results, eat roasted beetroot in a rocket salad. Rocket is rich in nitrates, too, and the combination is delicious!
Eating more fruit and vegetables has been proven to help lower blood pressure. Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and fibre to keep your body in good condition. They also contain potassium, which helps to balance out the negative effects of salt.
Blood pressure typically increases as we get heavier with age, and losing a few pounds is all it takes for many people to bring it down to a normal level.
Don’t try a crash diet (too stressful and difficult to sustain), but take things slowly by cutting back on treats, shrinking portion sizes and piling your plate with vegetables.
Studies show investing in a home monitor (around £20 from larger chemists) and using it regularly can help keep blood pressure down.
Home monitoring avoids “white coat syndrome” (where stress means your blood pressure sky-rockets when you are at the GP surgery), and can help you find out if your lifestyle changes are working. It also allows you to alert your doctor to potential health complications as soon as they occur.
Even a small reduction in salt is good for your health. The easiest way to cut down is to ban processed foods (which are very often packed with salt and sugar) and experiment with herbs and spices to keep up the flavour in your home cooking. You may also want to try low-salt seasonings.
Cut Back On Booze
In small amounts, the odd tipple can effectively lower blood pressure.
However, if yours is typically high, it’s a good idea to cut right back.
More than one drink a day for women and men over the age of sixty-five can actually raise blood pressure by several points – it can also reduce the effectiveness of medication.
Find our more about Know Your Numbers! Week, including details on where you can get tested, by clicking here.
Watch out for more great advice with “7 Easy Ways to Improve Vitamin Intake”, in our September 14 issue.
Then, in our October 12 issue, we’ll be looking at “7 Easy Ways to Improve Strength”.
If you can’t wait that long, you could always browse our Health pages here.