12 ways to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level – Tallahassee Democrat

According to the United States Preventive Services Task Force estimates, high blood pressure affects around 45% of adults in the U.S. Because high blood pressure is so common, it might be tempting to assume that it’s not a big problem.
But the truth is that when left untreated, high blood pressure can put you at risk for potentially life-threatening complications.
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Today’s column has a focus on lifestyle interventions that can assist us in controlling blood pressure and help to mitigate its negative consequences. Dietary intervention is one of the positive approaches that are covered in today’s column.
Access the links at the end of the column for a more encompassing look at high blood pressure including the importance of controlling blood pressure earlier in life.
Thanks to Medical News Today for much of the content in today’s column.
Managing the diet can be an effective way of preventing and treating high blood pressure.
A nutritious, balanced diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, vegetable and omega oils, and good quality, unrefined carbohydrates, such as whole grains. People who include animal products in their diet should trim the fat off and avoid processed meats.
Experts recommend reducing salt consumption and increasing potassium intake to manage or prevent high blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends that people limit their salt intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day and preferably reduce it to 1,500 mg. On average, individuals in the U.S. currently consume more than 3,400 mg of sodium daily.
In moderation, plant-based sources of fats, such as avocados, nuts, olive oil, and omega oils, can provide benefits. People should limit their intake of saturated fats and trans fats, common in animal-sourced and processed foods.
Health experts recommend the DASH diet for people with high blood pressure. The DASH diet focuses on an eating plan that emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and low fat dairy products.
Which foods are good for reducing blood pressure? Find out by going to medicalnewstoday.com.
One study in women indicated that consuming some alcohol may help lower blood pressure. However, others report the opposite, noting that even drinking a moderate amount might increase blood pressure levels.
People who regularly drink more than moderate amounts of alcohol will almost always experience elevated blood pressure levels.
Studies into the relationship between caffeine and blood pressure have produced conflicting results. A report published in 2017 concluded that a moderate intake of coffee appears to be safe for people with high blood pressure.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a range of lifestyle adjustments that can help reduce blood pressure, such as:
Discuss any planned lifestyle changes with a healthcare professional before introducing them.
The AHA notes that most healthy people should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical exercise a week. This could be 30 minutes — or three sessions of 10 minutes a day — 5 days per week.
This amount of exercise is also appropriate for those with high blood pressure.
However, a person who has not exercised for a while or who has a new diagnosis should speak with their qualified health professional before starting a new physical activity program to ensure it is suitable.
Studies have revealed that losing as little as 5–10 pounds in weight can help reduce blood pressure.
Weight loss will also improve the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
Methods of achieving and maintaining a moderate weight include getting regular exercise and following a diet that emphasizes plant-based foods. A person should also limit their intake of fat and added sugars.
Increasing sleep alone cannot treat hypertension, but too little sleep and reduced sleep quality may make it worse.
A 2015 analysis of data from a Korean national health survey found that people who had less than 5 hours of sleep per night were more likely to have hypertension.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), the following may help lower blood pressure:
However, the NCCIH adds that there is insufficient evidence to confirm that these can make a difference.
It also warns that some supplements can have adverse effects, such as raising blood pressure or interacting with medications. The organization states that meditation and exercise therapies are usually safe, but some poses may not be suitable for people with high blood pressure.
Anyone considering an alternative therapy should speak with a qualified health professional first.
Check out some tips for for lowering blood pressure naturally at medicalnewstoday.com.
Go to the following link provided by Medical News Today which provides details on many facets of high blood pressure (hypertension) at medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150109 
A list of some of the risk factors for high blood pressure provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are available at cdc.gov/bloodpressure 
Young people who have moderate to high blood pressure that gradually rises over time may be at risk for poor brain health later in life, researchers found. See details from the study at jamanetwork.com.
Mark Mahoney has been a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (R.D.N.) for over 35 years and completed graduate studies in Public Health at Columbia University.  He can be reached at marqos69@hotmail.com.
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