Prehypertension is defined as a systolic pressure from 120–139 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or a diastolic pressure from 80–89 mm Hg. Prehypertension can be prevented or reversed by eating less salt, more fruits and vegetables and drinking less alcohol.
Prehypertension can develop into high blood pressure (hypertension) if you do not take steps to take charge of it.
Here are tips on what to eat and do to prevent or reverse prehypertension.
1. Cut down on salt (sodium)
High salt consumption is linked to high blood pressure. When eating out, ask for no or less gravy. Say no to canned foods, salty soups, instant noodles, potato chips and french fries. Eat less condiments such as chili sauce, soya sauce, mayonnaise and oyster sauce.
2. Keep a healthy weight
Prehypertension is linked to being overweight and obese. Asians should aim for a healthy BMI (body mass index) of 18.5 to 22.9.
3. Exercise regularly
To prevent prehypertension or reverse it, exercise at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week, or 150 minutes a week. However, any increase in physical activity is better than nothing. If you’re just starting to exercise, consider climbing a few flights of stairs instead of taking the lift. Walk to a lunch venue that’s further away. On your way home from work, alight one bus stop away from your usual stop.
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4. Eat more fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet
Fruits and vegetables are rich in fibre and nutrients, helping your kidneys get rid of excess sodium. This in turn helps lower your blood pressure. The Health Promotion Board of Singapore recommends a minimum of 2 + 2 servings of fruit and vegetables (see our healthy eating article for details). Eat more whole grains, legumes, unsalted seeds and nuts.
5. Cut down on saturated fats
Choose heart-friendly foods such as lean cuts of meat and low-fat dairy products. Avoid eating processed foods which are high in saturated fats such as bacon, ham and hotdogs. These foods increase your LDL and risk of high cholesterol, worsening your prehypertension.
6. Lower your alcohol intake
Alcohol can increase your blood pressure. Men should have a maximum of two drinks per day. Women should not have more than one alcoholic beverage per day. One standard drink is roughly the amount of alcohol contained in one can of beer.
7. Quit smoking (if you haven’t)
Nicotine makes the heart work harder and over time, can increase blood pressure, raising the risk of heart disease and stroke. Smoking also contributes to several types of cancer including lung, oral and nose and throat cancer. Need help quitting? Check out this article on effective tips to quit smoking and where to get help.
Source: Health Tpis