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High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” as it is often asymptomatic and a major risk for stroke and heart disease. Lowering your blood pressure can help protect you from stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, and eye disease. Here are 5 simple tips to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
1. Cut Down Your Salt Intake
Based on the National Nutrition Survey 2020, Singaporeans exceeded the recommended daily limit (<5g of salt or one teaspoon), consuming a whopping 8.3g daily. A high salt diet can raise your blood pressure level and elevate your risk of stroke, heart disease, heart failure, and worsening kidney function. As such, you are recommended to reduce your salt intake by eating more fresh foods while limiting your consumption of processed foods, checking out Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) on food labels and using herbs and spices to naturally improve the taste of your food.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Did you know that your blood pressure increases as your weight increases? The good news is with each kg of weight loss, your blood pressure can be reduced by approximately 1 millimeter of mercury (mm Hg). Hence, you are encouraged to eat a nutritious, balanced diet, along with regular physical activity and sufficient sleep.
3. Stay Active
Participating in regular physical activity - 150 minutes per week, or at least 30 minutes five to seven days weekly can decrease your blood pressure by approximately 5 to 8 mm Hg if you have hypertension. You can go for aerobic exercises (e.g. jogging, cycling or swimming) and strength training to help lower your blood pressure.
4. Quit Smoking
The chemicals in cigarettes can cause damage to your arteries. In the long term, this results in narrower arteries, which force your blood pressure to increase. Secondhand smoke has the similar effect.
5. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
On top of causing weight gain, regular heavy drinking can elevate your blood pressure and decrease the effectiveness of blood pressure medications. Therefore, you are advised to drink only one can of beer, one glass of wine or one shot of hard liquor a day, and ensure a minimum of two alcohol-free days weekly.
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