When you’re fighting hypertension, it’s not just about reducing your salt intake or going for a walk every day, the key is to create a balanced lifestyle and improve your health overall. This way you’ll have more success managing high blood pressure.

Use these 15 tips to make simple lifestyle changes that can help you achieve a healthier heart and life:

1.Limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages: Instead, drink more water every day and sip on sodas and sugary coffee drinks occasionally. (No more than once or twice a week).

2.Drink less Alcohol: Alcohol can increase your blood pressure, even if you’re healthy. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation. (Stick to less than 1 to 2 drinks per day). However, it is best to avoid as much as possible.

3.Avoid added sugars: Added sugars are sugar carbohydrates added to food and drinks during their production.The healthiest route is to avoid or limit added sugars and enjoy the natural sweetness of whole foods instead. When you do indulge, eat smaller portions.

4.Use salt substitutes: Replace salt as much as you can. Try to use flavorful herbs and spices, or use only half the amount of salt the recipe calls for. Another great tip? Take off the salt shaker from the table.

5.Skip the packaged salty snacks and extra sweets: Processed foods contain hidden amounts of sodium that can be scary. The best way to tackle this is to eat natural, fresh foods when cravings strike.

6.Eat natural foods: Opt for vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, grape tomatoes, and celery for a quick snack to meet your daily vegetable intake. Use the DASH eating plan as a guide to eat healthy.

7.Eat more potassium: Increasing your potassium intake can lower your blood pressure since it reduces the effects of salt in your system and eases tension in your blood vessels.

8.Track your eating habits: Make a food journal or use an app to record your daily food intake and exercise. Setting goals and writing them down helps you stay on track.

9.Get better at being fit: Even if you only have 10 minutes to spare, use it to get some exercise. Fitting in simple tasks such as 1 minute of plank or ten push-ups will keep you strong. Gradually work your way up to at least 30 minutes of physical activity three to five times a week. Remember to check with your doctor about any restrictions on exercise.

10.Move more: Consider sporting a fitness tracker, set move goals and aim for 10,000 steps a day. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, get up and move around every now and then especially if your job is sedentary.

11.Stick to an exercise routine: Pull in a friend as your exercise partner to stay motivated. Try working out as soon as you wake up— studies reveal that morning workouts are more consistent and, thus more successful. Choose physical activities that you enjoy and don’t try to do too much too soon.

12.If you’re overweight, lose the excess weight: Talk to your doctor or a dietitian for more on what a healthy body weight for you should be. Get a complete body composition scan done.

13.If you’re a smoker, quit smoking — and if you’re not, don’t start! The nicotine in cigarettes not only raises your blood pressure and heart rate, it also narrows your arteries and hardens their walls, making your blood more likely to clot.

14.Make sure to get a good night’s sleep: Set a regular sleep schedule, avoid using your phone 30 mins before sleeping. Blood pressure typically dips down when you’re sleeping.

15.Take prescription drugs: For some people, lifestyle changes are enough to get blood pressure under control. If your blood pressure is abnormally high or doesn’t decrease after making these lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend prescription drugs.

Talk with a doctor before making any lifestyle modifications to know what might work best for you. Talk to our experts at DrNewMed.com to get a complete Hypertension treatment plan.

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