High blood pressure is an issue that has plagued the African-Amerian community for generations. Stress, smoking, an unhealthy diet, and certain medications can all cause blood pressure to rise. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease and stroke. With May being National Blood Pressure Month, now is a great time to start practicing these heart-healthy habits:
Eat well and move more
A diet rich in fruit, vegetables, potassium, fiber, and protein is key for good heart health. Lowering sodium levels and drinking plenty of water is essential, as well. If high blood pressure is already an issue, consider trying the DASH diet which consists of:
vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
fat-free or low-fat foods
limiting sugar and sodium intake
For adults, the Centers for Disease Control recommends exercising 30 minutes a day five days a week. Children and teenagers should get in an hour of exercise daily.
Quit smoking and limit alcohol
Did you know that smoking actually raises your blood pressure? As a result, you could be at an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. When it comes to alcohol, the CDC says men should have no more than two drinks a day and women should have one drink max.
Go to sleep
Aiming for eight hours of sleep a night makes for a healthy heart and blood vessels. That means the blood can flow at a normal rate with ease.