Used with permission by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

As the coauthor of a cookbook for high blood pressure, it seems to make sense to share some blood pressure news with you since it’s High Blood Pressure Education Month. High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects nearly one in three adults and is referred to as the “silent killer”, because it often has no signs or symptoms.

Hypertension is a risk factor for several diseases including heart disease, kidney disease and congestive heart failure. It can lead to heart attack or stroke – two of the leading causes of death in the United States. To find out how your blood pressure rates, you should check in with your doctor every year, where he or she will routinely check your blood pressure at an annual check up.

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The good news is that high blood pressure can be controlled, but unfortunately less than half of the population with high blood pressure has it under control. So what can you do to lower your blood pressure?

  • Follow the DASH diet
  • If you are prescribed a diet and medication by your physician, follow the directions for both
  • Get more physical activity, with your doctor’s approval
  • Lose weight if you are overweight. The best way to lose weight is to reduce portions and eat less. Exercise helps, but you have to reduce caloric intake
  • Have smaller portions and consume less salt and fat. Reducing portions of all foods automatically reduces overall sodium and fat intake.
  • Don’t smoke, quit if you do smoke
  • Maintain regular check ups with your doctor and dietitian