Four fundamentals to lower blood pressure
Adopt four core lifestyle improvements which are proven to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and other health problems. Together, these changes could bring mildly elevated blood pressure under control without medication—or allow you to stop or reduce current medications.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, every pound lost could lower systolic blood pressure (the upper number) by up to 1 millimeter of mercury (mm Hg). Losing 5% to 10% of your current weight will have a measurable effect on blood pressure. Aim for gradual but sustained weight loss based on a diet you enjoy.
- Exercise regularly. Guidelines call for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. A reasonable starting goal is 20 to 30 minutes every other day.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. A diet based on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and reduced sodium helps to lower blood pressure, over and above the calorie restriction required to lose weight. Consulting with a dietitian is one way to cut through the mixed messages in the media about what constitutes a heart-healthy diet.
- Moderate your alcohol intake. For a man, “moderate” alcohol consumption means no more than two standard alcoholic drinks per day. A standard drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits.