Managing Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a common concern for older adults.  According to Statistics Canada, two thirds of people over the age of 65 have high blood pressure. Controlling your blood pressure is important to help ward off more serious heart disease. By managing your blood pressure, you can mitigate the risk and continue to live happily and healthily.

Here are some ways to manage your blood pressure.

You Are What You Eat

We all know that diet is a one of the ways we can control our blood pressure. Make sure to have whole foods in your diet, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins (like fish and poultry). Additionally, foods high in potassium may help lower blood pressure. Try eating potassium rich food like  leafy greens, potatoes, bananas, fish, and squash.

Know What is in Your Food

Most of us know that saturated fats, sodium, and sugar can all contribute to higher blood pressure. What many of us overlook however, is looking at the labels of our foods which often reveal strikingly high levels of the things that are not very healthy for us.

Be careful of some of these (some of them commonly overlooked) foods:

  • Juices – many juices have a lot of added sugar. Though fruit juice may be better than a soda, it can also help contribute to higher blood pressure. Eating a fruit, or making your own smoothie is a great alternative.
  • Cured meats – Although delicious, cured meats like bacon can be high in sodium. Also, cured meats tend to be red meats, which are also linked with heart disease when consumed in high quantities.
  • Carbohydrates like white bread and pasta – these foods tend to fill you up less which can lead to indulging more. White processed products also don’t have the nutritional benefits of whole grain, less processed products
  • Breakfast cereals – often contain high amounts of sugar. Be sure to check the label before you purchase!

Exercising Regularly

Most experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. Find an activity that you enjoy, and try to stick with it. Tennis with friends, a hike with your dog, or a swim in the morning, or even a quick 15 minute walk after meals can help you lower your blood pressure.

Limit Alcohol and Smoking

Limiting alcohol can help you manage your blood pressure. Having a maximum of one drink a day is a good general rule of thumb.

You don’t need to quit for very long before experiencing the benefits of a smoke-free life. Smoking can have an effect on your blood pressure almost immediately. Curbing your habit or quitting all together can have a great improvement on your overall health.

Manage Your Stress

Managing your stress level is important in maintaining a healthy blood pressure level. Taking time for yourself, meditating, managing your time well, can all contribute significantly to lowering your blood pressure. Learn about stress management techniques at our blog about managing stress here.

Talk to Your Doctor about Medication

If your blood pressure is still consistently 140/90 or higher, your doctor may decide it is best to put you on medication. Taking additional steps to lower your blood pressure in conjunction with medication will give you the best results.