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How Do You Lower Your Blood Pressure?

There are actions you can take to lower your blood pressure.

Eat Foods That Are Lower In Sodium

Many people get too much sodium (found in salt) even without a salt shaker.

To get less sodium, eat:

  • more fruits, grains, beans, and vegetables that are not processed. Processed foods include canned goods, granola bars, breakfast cereals, lunch meat, frozen dinners etc.
  • fresh meats, fish and poultry
  • unsalted nuts and seeds
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Eat More Foods That Contain Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium

Potassium, magnesium, and calcium play an essential role in muscle and nerve function and bone health. They also help to keep blood pressure under control. Many people do not get enough of these three minerals in their diet.

Get more of these minerals in your diet by eating more of the foods below.

  • Potassium. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and poultry are all good sources of potassium.
  • Magnesium. Legumes, nuts, dark greens and whole grains are excellent sources of magnesium.
  • Calcium. Milk and dairy products and alternatives such as fortified soy beverages, sardines, tofu, broccoli, kale, and arugula all contain calcium.
    • Milk contains 300 mg of calcium per cup.
    • Sardines contain 200 mg of calcium, but 500 mg of sodium per 4.5 oz serving. It is important to look for canned goods without salt. Choose canned fish packed in water.
    • Broccoli and kale contain 70 and 90 mg of calcium in one cup cooked.
    • Almonds contain 100 mg calcium per ounce.

Make sure that the foods you choose do not have added salt.

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Drink Less​n Alcohol

One to two drinks a day will not raise blood pressure in most men. One drink a day will not raise blood pressure in most women. 

More than two drinks a day can raise blood pressure in most men and women.

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Exercise Reg​ularly

Aerobic activity, like walking, is best for lowering blood pressure. Follow your exercise prescription as advised by your cardiac rehab supervisor.

These strategies can work very well to reduce blood pressure. You will need to work with your doctor to adjust your blood pressure medication as these strategies begin to have an effect. Work with your doctor to adjust your medication as your blood pressure falls. Avoid adjusting your blood pressure medication on your own. If you stop your blood pressure medication all at once, it may be dangerous.

Adapted from 2000 Food & Health Communication, Inc. 21st Century HeartTM​

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Follow The DASH Diet

DASH stands for “dietary approaches to stopping hypertension”. DASH is a way of eating that helps lower your blood pressure. The DASH diet was developed after good research was done to find out how diet affects blood pressure.

DASH is a diet that:

  • is low in sodium
  • is rich in magnesium, potassium, and calcium
  • has lots of fruits and vegetables
  • has low fat dairy products
  • includes whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts
  • has lower amounts of red meats, sweets, and sugar-containing beverages than the average North American diet

DASH diet breakdown

Food GroupDaily Servings (Based on Canada’s Food Guide)
​Grains and grain products​7-8
Vegetables 4-5
​Low fat dairy​2-3
Meats, poultry, and fish​2 or less
​Fats and oils​2-3
​Nuts, seeds, legumes4-5 per week

Find more information on the DASH diet (opens in new window) »

Source: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

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