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How to lower blood pressure including the best foods and diet tips

Lowering blood pressure is vital for living a longer, healthier life. Here are our best tips on how to make the necessary changes.

Half the people suffering from high blood pressure don’t know they have it.

Symptoms are hard to ­spot but if left untreated, could ­increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.

We have revealed ten lifestyle ­changes you can make and how to lower blood pressure.

1. Exercise

Try to work out for at least half an hour a day. How about ­walking, running, swimming, ­cycling or dancing?

If your blood pressure is ­slightly raised, exercise can ­prevent you from developing full-blown hypertension.

Blood pressure is measured in mmHg – mm of mercury, the height blood ­pressure pushes up a ­column of mercury. Regular ­exercise can lower it by up to 9mmHg.

Working out for just 30 minutes a day can cut your risk of hyper tension (Photo: Getty)

2. Don’t stress

Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure and even stressing out now and again can ­contribute by making you eat badly, drink or smoke.

Try to accept things you can’t change and plan how to solve problems you can. Avoid stress triggers and take 15 ­minutes out of your day to sit quietly and breathe deeply.

3. Take magnesium

The mineral may help lower your blood pressure, as research found people with the ­highest intakes are a third less likely to have a heart attack or stroke. Nuts, seeds, green leaves and dark chocolate are great sources.

Dark chocolate is a good source of magnesium

4. Lose weight

As you get bigger, your blood pressure often follows suit and if you are overweight you could suffer from disrupted breathing when you sleep, which is also linked to hypertension.

Check your BMI to make sure you are a healthy weight and watch your waist – men are at risk if their waist measures more than 40in and women over 35in. The good news is losing just 10lb can help.

5. Cut down on salt

Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day – that’s about one teaspoon. People over 50, ­diabetics and those with ­kidney disease are more sensitive to sodium. Check ­labels, eat less ­processed food and taste food before adding salt.

Reduce your daily intake of salt

6. Get enough sun

Studies have found exposure to sunshine increases ­production of nitric oxide, which dilates arteries.

The ­vitamin D sun produces also lowers blood pressure and can reduce the risk of stroke.

7. Watch the coffee

Caffeine causes a short but ­dramatic blood pressure spike.

You may need to reduce your intake of tea, coffee and soft drinks if you are particularly sensitive to it.

Your cup of coffee could cause your blood pressure to spike dramatically (Photo: Getty)

8. Quit the habit

Every cigarette you smoke hikes your blood pressure for many minutes after you stub it out.

So lengthen your life by ­quitting and help your blood pressure return to normal.

9. Eat well

Your diet should be rich in fruit, veg and wholegrains, avoiding saturated fat and cholesterol.

Writing down what you eat can help shed light on what you are actually putting away. And don’t stop being good when you head out for a meal – opt for healthy choices on restaurant menus.

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