7.Improve Your diet
You will almost certainly have heard the saying that you are what you eat!
It can be easy to tell someone to improve their diet but it is a difficult change to make.
There is, however, no getting away from the fact that if you have received a diagnosis of high blood pressure problems then the chances are that your diet is less than ideal
Eating overly refined and processed foods can lead to a diet that is too high in sodium, saturated fats and cholesterol all of which can lead to a hardening of the arteries and an increase in the pressure within your vessels.
Research has shown that eating a diet that is high in fruit and vegetables and which replaces ordinary dairy with low fat versions and reduces the amount red meat and of saturated and other fats ingested will typically lead to a reduction in blood pressure when compared to the standard American diet.
This is known as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension) Diet and because it contains serving guidance rather than lists of foods which are completely banned or insisted on (you do not need to eat quinoa, for example, unless you really want to subject yourself to it!).
We are not saying that you will not hanker after a juicy cheese burger and, to be fair you can have one from time to time.
Nevertheless, if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure it would be better to make the dietary changes now, of your own volition and when you have time to adjust than to stick your head in the sand, continue as you are and end up in an ambulance to the nearest ER with a heart attack in 5 years' time.
Not only that but improving your diet will help you to reduce your sodium intake and manage your weight more effectively – so you get triple the benefits from one action!
6.Skip the Booze
Do you enjoy the odd glass of wine in the evening or a bottle of beer with your friends?
If you do you are not alone, many of us use alcohol to relax but, rather than helping us to de-stress it could be contributing to blood pressure problems.
A glass of red wine now and then might confer health benefits but any more than that and you are putting your health at risk for a number of reasons, not least the risk of increased blood pressure.
The CDC advise that men drink no more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day with a limit of 1 a day for women.
In other countries such as the UK the advice is to drink no more than 14 'units' of alcohol a week for women and 21 for men, spacing the consumption out over the entire week.
Research studies have shown that the alcohol that you drink over the preceding three days can contribute to a raised blood pressure reading.
That means that even if you do not drink more than the recommended amount over the course of a week you could still cause yourself problems if your drinking is confined to a relatively short period of time (eg the weekend).
Luckily the effects of alcohol on blood pressure are transient and can be reversed by cutting down on consumption and making sure that the alcohol you do drink is in moderate volumes and spaced out over time.
If you drink socially you might find it challenging to reduce your intake, particularly if your friends are encouraging you to have 'just one more'.
Be honest with them about why you are reducing your intake so that they can support and help you.
If you struggle to consume no more than the recommended amounts you should seriously consider asking your doctor for help with strategies to reduce your dependence.
5.Relax Man. De-stress
Does stress cause high blood pressure or does high blood pressure make us more vulnerable to stress? The truth is that the two conditions are inextricably linked.
We all experience stress from time to time and, in moderation it is no bad thing. Our bodies are designed to handle short periods of intense stress.
In fact, a small amount of stress from time to time is health and can help keep your responses physically and mentally honed.
Where this falls down, however, is if you are living at a high level of stress day in, day out, with no prospect of a break.
Stress can strike anyone at any time of their life so it is important to be aware of what causes you stress and whether you are exposed to it in order to allow you to take protective action.
Stress on its own very rarely causes high blood pressure directly but can and does play a role in its development and can lead to repeated high blood pressure readings. It also can cause the impact of other risk factors to be exacerbated.
If you know that stress causes your high blood pressure to become worse it is worth learning some relaxation techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing and meditation.
Practicing these techniques during periods of stress will help you to keep your blood pressure under control and help to reduce your reliance on the pressure pills.
4.Drink Green Tea
It may seem as though the claims are too good to be true but green tea really is a superfood.
It is cheap, readily available from the supermarket (there is no need to go to a specialist store or order from the internet) and drinking it will do your health the world of good.
People from the Far East have known of the health benefits of tea for centuries and drink it prophylactically to ward off a whole range of problems and to promote general health.
A meta-analysis of research into the potentially beneficial effects of tea drinking has shown that while drinking tea as a one off will have no real impact on health in general or blood pressure in particular, drinking green tea for 12 weeks or more can lead to a reduction of over 2mmHg blood pressure readings enough to reduce the risk of having a stroke by 8%.
Studies in Japan, where green tea is a very popular drink, have shown that those who consume green tea are less likely to die from any cause than those who do not drink it (up to 55% in some cases depending on the amount consumed).
With this in mind you might want to make sure that your grocery cart contains a packet of green tea from now on and that you drink between 4 and 5 cups every day.
If you do not like the taste of the tea you can get it in various different flavors including jasmine (which is very popular). Green tea also combines very well with lavender to give you dual benefits from the one cup!