The best things to do in order to prevent and treat high blood pressure.
Lifestyle changes should be the first line strategy for preventing and treating high blood pressure, a review suggests.
Good quality sleep, mindfulness, eating dietary fibre, and exercise are among those changes that should be implemented as part of a healthy lifestyle.
While avoiding or reducing exposure to air pollution, smoking, eating salt or sugar, and drinking alcohol are among necessary lifestyle modifications for blood pressure control.
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The findings are based on clinical and scientific evidence from 18 countries that looked at effective lifestyle changes for the treatment of hypertension.
- Build healthy habits from early life.
- Eat healthy: more fruits and vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy, and fish but less red meat, sugar, and salt.
- Drink healthy: consider beetroot juice, pomegranate juice, cocoa, and hibiscus tea, drink unsweetened coffee and tea moderately, and avoid or reduce alcohol.
- Physical activity: increase exercises including brisk walking, muscle strengthening and aerobics, avoid sedentary behaviours such as sitting too long.
- Healthy weight: monitor weight values and waist circumference.
- Stress reduction: good quality sleep, mindfulness, yoga, breathing techniques, meditation, music therapy, acts of kindness, and gratitude.
- Reduce exposure to pollution: exercise in parks or gardens and stay away from busy roadways, consider air filtration systems.
- Avoid passive smoke and stop smoking.
Hypertension is characterized as systolic blood pressure (SBP) of 140 mmHg or higher and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) of 90 mmHg or more.
The condition affects 1.5 billion people globally.
While there are some effective drugs, due to their side effects it is best to begin with some lifestyle modifications.
Professor , the study’s first author, said:
“Our aim was to provide a holistic set of recommendations for changes to lifestyle, which focus on all areas of health, including movement and bodyweight, food and drink, the body and mind, as well as other factors such as exposure to air pollution.”
Professor Bryan Williams, the study’s senior author, said:
“It all sounds like it is a bit soft and fluffy and not as dynamic, for example, as taking drugs but these things make such an important contribution to reducing the effects of stress on the cardiovascular system and the evidence is accumulating.
There’s so much people can do for themselves.
All of us need to take a step back and say, actually, I should be able to find half an hour in my day to have a little bit of time to myself and decompress and just relax—whether it’s listening to music, going for a walk or going to the gym and doing some exercise.”
- The emotion of gratitude can help to reduce blood pressure.
- Healthy eating, brain training, exercise and good medical management may prevent dementia.
- Lingonberry juice is powerful enough to improve blood vessel function.
- Eating more fruits and vegetables can increase levels of happiness.
- Older adults who have a busy lifestyle also have better cognitive function.
About the author
The study was published in the Journal of Hypertension (Fadi et al., 2023).
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