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10 tips for mental health during the pandemic

Blood pressure: when it goes high, we go low

6 tips for lowering your high blood pressure

It makes our blood pressure rise just thinking about it, but nearly a quarter of all Canadians have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.1 And that percentage only increases with age.

The good news is there are ways to get your blood pressure out of the danger zone – or help avoid that danger zone altogether if you’re not currently there.

Here are 6 non-medicinal ways to lower your blood pressure:

  1. Keep an eye on your BMI. Plenty of research has associated a high body mass index (BMI) with hypertension. BMI measures the relationship of weight to height. Higher BMI can lead to higher blood pressure, so if your BMI is high, check with your doctor about safe ways to lower it.
  2. Get moving. If you’re a woman who gets less exercise than is recommended, your risk of hypertension increases by 26%; for men, it increases by 19%.1 About 20 minutes of exercise per day can make a big difference.2
  3. Munch some fruits and veggies. If you eat fewer than five servings a day, your hypertension risk goes up by 18% for men and 15% for women.1 Eating a healthier diet, which includes eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, while lowering your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, can help significantly lower your blood pressure.2
  4. Limit your liquor. If you choose to drink, it’s better for your blood pressure to have no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.2 In fact, drinking more than that can significantly increase your blood pressure and interfere with blood pressure medications.2
  5. Butt out. You know those tobacco- and nicotine-filled sticks some people suck on? Shocker: they’re not good for you. Of course, we’ve long known cigarettes are unhealthy for so many reasons. When it comes to blood pressure, you’ll experience a spike for several minutes after each cigarette.2
  6. Chill out. Find ways to relax, whether it’s through meditation, breathing techniques, therapy, prayer, yoga, or whatever helps. Calming your mind is actually a surprisingly effective way to lower blood pressure.3

It could take just a few simple tweaks to your lifestyle to make some real changes if your blood pressure is in that danger zone. And most of them will probably help you feel better in general, too. So, start lowering that blood pressure!

 

1 Statistics Canada, “Health Reports: Blood pressure, hypertension and leading risk factors,” February 20, 2019.
2 Mayo Clinic, “10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication.”
3 Reuters, “Yoga linked to lowered blood pressure with regular practice,” February 28, 2019.

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