Have you had your blood pressure checked recently? At least one-quarter of Australian adults have high blood pressure, and while a person of any age can have the condition, more than half of these with high blood pressure are aged over 60.
A doctor can check your blood pressure using a simple test. This is the only way to know your blood pressure health.
According to The Heart Foundation:
Normal blood pressure: generally less than 120/80 mmHg
Normal to high blood pressure: between 120/80 and 140/90 mmHg
High blood pressure: 140/90 mmHg or higher
High blood pressure (hypertension) can be caused by a number of things, such as stress, poor health or nutrition, lack of exercise or a heredity predisposition. The good news is that lowering and maintaining a healthy blood pressure usually only means making a few small changes.
1. Healthy eating
Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is imperative to lowering your blood pressure and keeping it at a healthy level. Be sure to include plenty of foods from the five major food groups, including fruits, vegetables, grains, lean meats and dairy.
Drinking enough water (around two litres per day) is highly recommended.
2. Reduce the salt
Excessive salt in the diet is the one of the most common reasons for high blood pressure. Australians are recommended to consume less than 4g, or 1,600mg of sodium, per day. This is no more than a teaspoon.
The easiest way to reduce salt in your diet is to cut out processed foods, and stop adding it to your meals. If you are the person who is responsible for cooking meals, always make sure to taste the food as you go, and see if it needs salt.
As a person ages, their tastebuds start fading, so the taste of food isn’t as strong. This can lead to excessive use of salt to try to bring back the flavours. Instead of piling on the sodium, try using alternatives to amp-up the flavour, such as chillies, spices and herbs.
Another way to consume less salt is to stop it entering the house. When you’re shopping, check the dietary labels on the back of food packets. Look for foods with 120mg of sodium per 100g or less.
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