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The Better Blood Pressure Checklist

The Better Blood Pressure Checklist: Main Image
Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes

High blood pressure--or hypertension--is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

A blood pressure reading of more than 140/90 is considered high, while pre-hypertension ranges from 120/80 through 139/89. Systolic blood pressure--the number on top--is considered the most accurate for diagnosing hypertension.

Here's what you can do to help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range:

  • Get 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Exercise can lower blood pressure, help with weight loss, raise heart-healthy HDL-cholesterol levels, and improve insulin sensitivity, all of which lower your risk for heart disease.
  • Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. Unprocessed foods are key to keeping your blood pressure in check.
  • Don't smoke. Smoking directly increases blood pressure and can lead to a host of other diseases including heart disease and many cancers.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Losing even a few pounds can help lower blood pressure by several points and decrease other risk factors for heart disease.
 
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