If you suffer from high blood pressure, make sure you’re not making these mistakes; otherwise, your blood pressure will increase further instead of decreasing.
According to the CDC, nearly half of American adults suffer from hypertension—a severe risk factor for heart ailments and stroke—and many people don’t know they have it. Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to help your BP numbers improve.
Read here the six ways to help you correct apparently innocuous behavior to ensure you care for your heart—and none of them requires a gym.
6 Mistakes That Can Raise Blood Pressure
Not knowing your numbers
As per one NHANES survey, 16% of people are unaware they have a high BP. As a result, they will not think of any need to make any preventive dietary or lifestyle changes to improve their heart health. So, regularly checking your blood pressure will increase your awareness, encourage you to take protective measures, and set you up for success.
Consider buying a blood pressure machine for home use. That will give you peace of mind and help you take corrective action if needed. Or you can get your blood pressure readings taken at your neighborhood local pharmacy. This is particularly important if you have risk factors for hypertension like if:
- BMI is greater than 30
- Physically inactive
- You smoke
- You consume more than moderate alcohol (moderate drinking is defined as no more than two alcoholic beverages daily for men and no more than one for women.
Related: 5 Heart Health Numbers You Must Know
Not drinking enough water
Drinking too much water can raise your blood pressure, but so can if you are dehydrated. Therefore, we need to keep a healthy balance with what we drink. As per a 2019 study, even mild dehydration can thicken your blood, obstruct blood flow, and raise blood pressure. Whereas recommendations vary, a workable trick is to take a 32 oz. water bottle with a straw and fill it up at least thrice daily. If you add this to your daily tea and coffee consumption, plus the hydration you get from foods, you can keep proper hydration throughout the day.
My secret pro tip: research has shown our blood pressure goes up when our bladder is full, so try to empty it before your blood pressure is measured.
Best Selling 32 oz. water bottle with a straw
Eating late in the evening
We understand that it may not be possible for you to have your dinner early. But making it a habit to eat earlier might help improve your blood pressure. An American Heart Association-funded research study found that not only late-night eating (after 6 pm) raised obesity risk, but also consuming 30% or more of your calories after 6 pm was found to be associated with a 23% increase in hypertension.
You can prevent this by ensuring you eat at timed intervals throughout the day, with appropriate amounts of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Also, consider eating a protein-rich snack about two hours before you eat dinner. This will help keep off your hunger and stabilize your blood sugar. If you’re adequately fueled throughout the day, you will be less likely to overeat during dinner and on and on into the night.
Related Post: 5 Ways To Keep Your Heart Healthy
Drinking too much alcohol
People often tend to turn towards alcohol to de-stress. However, we need to think about some healthy ways to wind down at the end of the day if we want to keep the risk of hypertension at bay. Heavy drinking can substantially increase your risk of high blood pressure. Researchers found that moderate drinkers were more likely to have hypertension than those who never drank, while heavy drinkers (more than 14 drinks a week) were much more likely to have high blood pressure.
Some healthy options to de-stress include taking a brisk walk, exercising, talking to some friends, meditation, etc.—all these activities can help shift your mood and remove the feeling that you need a glass of wine to relax.
Salt is all around us, and we are often unaware of the hidden amounts of salt we consume daily. Too much sodium isn’t good for blood pressure. Although greens and grilled chicken are healthy, restaurants usually load food items with too much salt for flavor, and therefore they may not be as healthy as we think. For instance, a large bowl of chicken soup can have more than our daily recommended limit of sodium per day (2,300 mg) just in one meal! Frozen meals generally have sodium levels between 700-1,800 mg per meal.
So remember to choose lower-sodium options while ordering a meal, and look for lower-sodium frozen meals when purchasing. It is a good habit to check the nutrition labels on your food. These suggestions will definitely work to reduce the salt content of our diets.
Related: Best Tips To Keep Your Heart Healthy As Per Cardiologists
You’re not getting any sun
The Journal of American Heart Association published an observational study about the sunlight’s role in blood pressure. The study analyzed nearly 46 million blood pressure readings from 342,000 patients in 2,200 dialysis clinics. Exposure to UV sunlight was observed to be linked with lower systolic blood pressure. However, the researchers weren’t exactly sure why. In any case, getting outside has lots of other benefits.
Getting outside in the sun can get you UV sunlight exposure. About 10-30 minutes per day might be enough in the summer. The study didn’t track minutes. \But observed that in the summer, BP went down. Remember, more doesn’t mean better. You’ll also want to protect your skin from sun damage.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, the USA, obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says, ” Age is just a number!”