To lower blood pressure, increase daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and low-fat dairy, according to Mayo Clinic. It is important to avoid excessive sugar, caffeine, sodium and alcohol. Eating foods rich in potassium is thought to mitigate damage caused by sodium.
Also cut back on foods that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol as these ingredients are known to clog arteries and increase blood pressure, notes Mayo Clinic. For people under the age of 51, sodium levels should not exceed 2,300 milligrams per day. People over 51 years old should limit their sodium quantities to 1,500 milligrams or less daily.
In addition to dietary changes, also strive to increase daily activity levels to between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise. It is unhealthy to remain mostly sedentary during the week and try to cram exercise into the weekends. Mayo Clinic recommends keeping an active food and fitness journal to track daily habits and provide insight into small mistakes that may cause setbacks. Smoking is a major risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, so work to eliminate cigarettes and secondhand smoke completely. It helps to build a strong support network of close family and friends who are able to provide motivation and encouragement to stick to health goals.