Usually, initial stages of elevated blood pressure, or hypertension, can be managed without the use of medications. Blood pressure is a combination of two factors - lifestyle and genetics. Although there is not much we can do to fight our genes, lifestyle changes can be very helpful in keeping blood pressure in optimal ranges.
Managing blood pressure through lifestyle starts with nutrition. Processed foods, as well as foods high in sugar and sodium, should be limited. Try to stick to whole foods as often as possible while meal planning. Hydration is also important. Goal for water intake is half of your body weight in ounces of water daily. This need increases with caffeine and alcohol consumption. Many of us fall short on this goal, it is encouraged to evaluate current water intake and gradually increase until our goal is reached. Lastly, daily activity will help reduce blood pressure. The goal is 45 minutes of exercise daily, which may seem overwhelming at first. Start by dedicating 10-15 minutes a day to a brisk walk or intentional stretching. As this becomes routine, build upon your activity until the goal is met. Not only will these habits help your blood pressure, they often also help with weight management, mood and energy levels.
~Emily Roling, NP