Healthy Eating

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Also indexed as:Blood Pressure (High), Elevated Blood Pressure, High Blood Pressure, Nightime Hypertension
Beat hypertension—Lower your blood pressure with simple lifestyle changes to protect yourself from this hidden health problem. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.

To help keep you in top health, our experts recommend these steps:

  • Ponder potassium. Many people understand that too much salt (sodium) can contribute to high blood pressure; fewer know that eating potassium-rich foods can bring pressure down. Find potassium in vegetables, fruit, beans, low-fat dairy, and fish. Select Eating Right, above, for more information.
  • Go fish. Omega-3 fats, found in fatty, cold-water fish such as salmon and cod, may bring down blood pressure. If you don’t regularly enjoy fish, a fish oil supplement may fill in the omega-3 gaps. Select Vitamins, above, for more information.
  • Minimize medications. To reduce the need for blood pressure medications, move your body more. Regular physical activity, such as brisk walking for 30 minutes daily, is an effective way to bring down blood pressure numbers. Select Medicines, and About, above, for more information.
  • Measure repeatedly. One high reading does not mean you have high blood pressure. If you have a few high readings, a home blood pressure monitor can help you figure out if you’ve had a few “false highs,” or if you truly have high blood pressure. Select Personal Care, above, for more ideas on tools for a healthier life.

Our experts recommend the following top tips to help support healthy blood pressure levels:

  • Weigh your options. Extra pounds can contribute to the development of hypertension, and losing just five to ten percent of your body weight—that’s 10 to 20 pounds on a 200-pound person—will improve blood pressure numbers. Select Eating Right, above, for more information.
  • Develop supplement savvy. Along with a healthy diet and regular physical activity, certain supplements, including fish oil, Coenzyme Q10, and pycnogenol—a substance derived from French maritime pine bark—can help manage hypertension. Select Vitamins, above, for more information.
  • Mind your medications. High blood pressure doesn’t cause obvious symptoms; don’t assume that if you feel fine, you don’t need to take your medications. Work with your doctor to find medications that work well for you, and take them exactly as prescribed. Select Medicines, above, for more information.
  • Take advantage of available tools. To most effectively manage your condition, consider purchasing a home blood pressure monitor. If your numbers begin to creep up, you can take steps to bring blood pressure back into a healthier range. Select Personal Care, above, for more ideas on tools for a healthier life.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.