How can you reduce your blood pressure or prevent hypertension?

• Don’t smoke!

• Limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink per day (women) and 2 drinks per day (men): 12 ounces of beer, 1 ounce of liquor, 4 ounces of wine

• Lose weight if overweight. 10-pound weight loss results in lower blood pressure

• Exercise at least 150 minutes (2 ½ hours) each week. Try to spread out the times, for example: 30 minutes each day/5 days per week.

• Diet:

o Consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium a day:

• A low sodium food has 140 mg per serving
• Salt is sodium chloride: 40% sodium and 60% chloride
• ¼ teaspoon salt = 600 mg sodium
• ½ teaspoon salt = 1,200 mg sodium
• ¾ teaspoon salt = 1,800 mg sodium
• 1 teaspoon salt – 2,300 mg sodium
• (adding ANY salt to your diet may result in excess daily sodium)

o Increase foods high in potassium to approximately 3,500 – 4,700 mg a day

• Potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew, apricots, low-sodium V8 juice, prunes, soybeans, milk, lentils, almonds

o Increase food high in magnesium to approximately 500 mg a day

• Whole grains, dark leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts

o Increase foods high in calcium to approximately 1,200 mg a day

• Milk (low-fat), yogurt (low-fat/Greek), cheese (low-fat/low-sodium), dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, canned salmon or sardines with bones, calcium fortified foods, tofu/soybeans, almond/almond milk, seaweed (especially hiziki or nori)

o Increase fiber foods to 25-50 grams a day (gradually so it agrees with your digestive system) ~14 grams per 1,000 calories that you consume each day

• Whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables