How Can I Make My Lifestyle Healthier?

It is never too late to make better health choices. One way, especially as you advance in years, is to have your blood pressure checked regularly.

Always keep your blood pressure within the normal range.

How can I maintain normal blood pressure?  Below are some tips:

If you are overweight, lose some. Be more physically active, reduce your salt and sugar intake, eat more fruits and vegetables, and take your BP medication exactly as instructed by your doctor.  
Eat healthy food. How can I get healthy food? A healthy diet is one consisting of fibers, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Strongly recommended standard practice is to eat at least four cups of fruits and vegetables every day, at least two servings of fish every week. Fiber-rich whole grains are to be preferred to polished, processed grains.

Limit your sweetened and bottled drinks to one in a week. Limit also your intake of processed meat, red meat. Use low-fat ones like chicken (without skins) and dairy products.

Do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity every week. Start slowly and build up 30 to 60 minutes exercise every day.  Look for ways to be more active. Take 10 minutes walking break during the day or after meals. Regular physical activities control your glucose level.

Maintain a healthy body weight, a body mass index less than 25. How can I keep a healthy body weight? To lose weight you have to reduce calorie intake.

Follow a healthy-diet pattern. Avoid fast foods or limit their intake, and use more healthy options which are available.

Keep your total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dl. Get your blood cholesterol checked every three years. Recheck more often if the level is high. Avoid or limit high-fat foods like red meat, chicken with skin, and other animal products.

Keep your fasting blood sugar less than 100 mg/dl. Avoid or limit intake of simple sugars that are found in bottled drinks, candy, and sugary deserts.

Reduce carbohydrate intake and use more healthy food items like fruits and vegetables.

Use drugs exactly as instructed by the doctor.

Don’t smoke cigarettes or any other tobacco products. Cigarettes contain nicotine which will constrict the veins and arteries and lead to less blood flow in the body. Cigarette smoke can cause cancer. Smoke contains many dangerous carcinogens.  

Staying with someone who smokes is equally dangerous. Passive smokers can get all the same harmful effects as a smoker.

By Philip Eappen, AUN Clinic