Why It’s Important to Manage Blood Pressure?
According to the American Heart Association, almost half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, which is about 103 million people. Even though it’s a very common issue, it is still a very dangerous condition. Having high blood pressure can put you at a much higher risk for heart disease and stroke, which are both leading causes of death in the United States. On top of that, cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the world ("More than 100 Million Americans..."). Risk factors for high blood pressure include family history, age, gender, race, and chronic kidney disease which are directly related to who you are and cannot be changed. However, there are plenty of modifiable risk factors that will greatly decrease your risk of high blood pressure.
Modifiable risk factors for high blood pressure include physical inactivity, poor diet, overweight or obesity, excessive consumption of alcohol, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and tobacco use, and high levels of stress ("Know Your Risk Factors..."). Taking the right steps towards improving in these areas can reduce your blood pressure and greatly decrease your risk of heart disease and other poor health outcomes.
Nutrition for Blood Pressure Management
One of the biggest contributing factors to high blood pressure is a poor diet. This often consists of a diet high in sodium, added sugar, and saturated and trans fats. The best type of diet to enhance heart health is one that is rich in fruits and vegetables, nuts and legumes, and whole grains.
One type of nut, in particular, that’s good for heart health is black walnuts. Black walnuts contain high amounts of oleic acid, which helps to reduce blood pressure. Some other foods that are especially good for heart health are beets, pumpkin seeds, tofu, olive oil, avocado, chickpeas, oatmeal, salmon, blueberries, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts (Gwinn, 2021). Consider adding a few of these foods into your diet each week to reap their heart health benefits!
Exercise for Blood Pressure Management
A lack of physical activity is one of the greatest risk factors for high blood pressure and heart disease. Incorporating physical activity into your daily life can have tremendous effects on your heart health. It is recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week, or a combination of the two. Some examples of aerobic activity include walking, swimming, running, biking, tennis, dancing, skiing, and rowing. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity each day. The 30 minutes can also be split up into shorter intervals throughout the day, so it really isn’t as daunting as it may seem!
A combination of a nutritious diet full of heart-healthy foods and an adequate amount of physical activity can greatly reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. By making small changes in your daily routine, your heart will benefit greatly!
“More than 100 Million Americans Have High Blood Pressure, Aha Says.” Www.Heart.Org, 16 Aug. 2021, www.heart.org/en/news/2018/05/01/more-than-100-million-americans-have-high-blood-pressure-aha-says.
“Know Your Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure.” Www.Heart.Org, 31 May 2023, www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/why-high-blood-pressure-is-a-silent-killer/know-your-risk-factors-for-high-blood-pressure.
Gwinn, Alison. “11 of the Best Foods for Your Heart Health.” AARP, www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2021/heart-health-foods.html. Accessed 25 June 2023.