High blood pressure responds well to healthy lifestyle changes, such as cutting back on sodium and alcohol, exercising frequently, quitting smoking and eating a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, notes Mayo Clinic. It is crucial to get to an optimal weight and maintain it long-term through these practices.
Mayo Clinic recommends getting between 60 and 90 minutes of exercise as many days each week as possible. It is important to keep a frequent and consistent workout schedule, because people with high blood pressure may put themselves in danger by trying to fit intense exercise sessions in sporadically. Hypertension is especially affected by unhealthy foods containing saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol, because these components cause blood vessels to thicken, which puts unnecessary strain on the heart. Increasing potassium levels by eating fruits and vegetables is thought to mitigate some of the damage that sodium causes to the body. Mayo Clinic recommends reducing sodium intake to below 2,300 milligrams per day for people under the age of 51, and below 1,500 milligrams daily for people over 51 years old. This is especially important for people who are diagnosed with chronic kidney disease or diabetes. Alcohol in very small amounts is thought to slightly improve high blood pressure levels, but Mayo Clinic warns against having more than one alcoholic beverage per day.