How can I prevent high blood pressure?
How can I prevent high blood pressure?

To prevent high blood pressure, first consider your diet. A healthy diet can go a long way toward preventing high blood pressure. Trying following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan, also known as the DASH diet, which emphasizes plenty of fruits and vegetables and low-fat or nonfat dairy products. Studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health have shown that the DASH diet can dramatically lower blood pressure. And the results show up fast ? often within two weeks.

At the same time, cut down on salt (sodium chloride), which can raise blood pressure. The National High Blood Pressure Education Program recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. The ideal is even lower ? only 1,500. For the average man, who consumes about 4,200 milligrams a day, that requires a big change. But studies show that the lower your salt intake, the lower your blood pressure.

Along with a healthier diet, it is smart to be as active as possible to prevent high blood pressure. In 2007, researchers at the University of Minnesota published results from a study of almost 4,000 people between the ages of 15 and 30 who were followed over time. The more active they were, the lower their risk of developing hypertension.

A few other changes can also keep your blood pressure in check. Both excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can raise blood pressure. Men who drink alcohol should stick to no more than two standard drinks a day. And if you smoke, the advice is obvious: Get serious about quitting.

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