Medically reviewed by Mary Ahern MS, RDN, RYT October 15, 2023| Written by Godfrey Makonere Wesutsa

Reducing The Risk Of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is considered a silent killer because it can easily go undetected for a long time. Unlike other health problems, high blood pressure exhibits no visible symptoms until your blood pressure is dangerously high. According to NCBI, high blood pressure, or medically regarded as hypertension, is a health problem that can lead to diverse health challenges, including strokeheart failure, and chronic kidney disease . The data from the World Health Organization states that approximately 7.5 million people die annually of hypertension-related conditions.  Therefore, it is important to take  precautions to counter high blood pressure before it gets out of hand . Here are some of the ways that you can use to reduce your risk of hypertension.

Balanced Diet

Diet has been shown to be a key contributor to hypertension. Diets high in fat and salt are associated with greater risk of developing hypertension. In fact, one of the key components of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is low salt and low fat. People with hypertension, or those looking to prevent it, should aim for 2000 mg of less of sodium a day. Foods that contain high salt and fat include fast foods and highly processed foods. Diets high in fat and salt can lead to hypertension in various ways. Dietary fat contributes to the narrowing of the blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure. Salt, on the other hand, makes your body (especially your blood) retain fluid, thus increasing the pressure exerted on the walls of your blood vessels.

You can also reduce the risk of hypertension by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, legumes, and low-fat foods. As mentioned above, the diet recommended for high blood pressure is called the DASH diet and has been shown to decrease blood pressure.

Physical Activities

Engaging in physical activity is a great strategy that can help you reduce the risk of high blood pressure in three main ways. Firstly, exercise helps to reduce weight. Excess weight has been associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure. Secondly, physical exercise helps reduce stress in the body, which helps to reduce the blood flow rate in the body. Lastly, exercise can improve the strength of the heart, allowing it to pump blood with less effort.

Remember, physical activity goes beyond exercising. The main strategy of physical activity is to avoid a sedentary lifestyle, which is associated with an increased risk of hypertension. For instance, if you spend most of your day at home or the office, and don’t make time for physical activity, you may have a high risk of high blood pressure. In this regard, the best strategy is to remain physically active in various ways, such as walking your dog, using a staircase instead of an elevator, and mowing your lawn. For optimum heart health, the American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity.

Avoid Cigarettes 

Cigarettes are associated with increased high blood pressure and can lead to Renovascular and malignant hypertension. When you smoke, you expose your body to numerous chemicals that affect the flow of your blood. For example, nicotine is associated with a decrease in the size of blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure.

Sleep For At Least 6 Hours

If you sleep less than 6 hours, you are at a high risk of getting high blood pressure. If you are the type of person who works late, consider finding some time to have adequate sleep during the day. Avoid working for many hours and spare some time to sleep to allow your body to rejuvenate. While sleeping, the body gets sufficient time to establish hormonal balance and boost metabolism for optimal functionality of all the body organs.

Eating Food High in Potassium

Inadequate potassium intake has been shown to be associated with hypertension.  According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, good examples of food with high potassium include dates, bananas, and vegetables. In fact, the DASH diet created specifically for people with hypertension emphasizes potassium rich foods.

Avoid Excessive Intake of Processed Foods

Processed foods have taken up the market because they are easily accessible and relatively cheap. Most people turn to processed food, especially when they are outside or when working. Processed foods are likely to increase the risk of hypertension because they are high in salt and fat. Eating excessively processed food causes obesity and increases weight, leading to  an increased risk of high blood pressure. Processed food can include snacks, doughnuts, and pizzas, among others.  Fresh foods are the most recommended food products for healthy living.

Stress Management

The challenges and pressures of life  may increase your blood pressure. Some of those challenges of life likely to increase your stress levels include, paying the bills, rent, studying for a given factor, or worrying about your future. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, spending too much time thinking about a given issue increases the level of stress, which in turn contributes to high blood pressure. Therefore, it is critical to identify various ways that you can use to regulate your level of stress.

You can counter stress by distracting the mind in different ways, for instance, practicing deep breathing, reading a book, listening to music, mindfulness, and meditation. Additionally, you can embrace spiritual practices which focus on peace and relaxation of the mind. Embrace any activity that can help you calm your mind and avoid any stress affecting your ability to focus on your health.

Frequent Meditation

Meditation is a simple activity that you can use to relax your body and promote a healthy blood pressure. Meditation helps to reduce stress, which is associated with the problem of hypertension. Meditation is a relaxation strategy that has been happening for many years because of its non-medical way of cutting stress levels. Through meditation, you can stabilize your level of blood pressure.

Meditation is both spiritual and psychological. Meditating teaches you to calm your mind and clear off all the negative thoughts in life. This approach can help you remain focused and make healthy decisions regardless of the challenges you face.  

Capitalize on Herbal Supplements

There are some herbal supplements that may lower your level of blood pressure. However, some of these supplements have no proper dosage of the quantity that should be used. You can always get adequate advice from a certified herbalist. Herbal remedies are vital because they are natural and may help in regulating blood pressure. Some examples of herbal remedies include black bean, ginger root, Indian Plantago, and Flipper River Lily. Always contact a certified herbalist and your medical doctors to discuss options and to help you understand the exact amount of dosage that you should be consuming.

Reduce Alcohol Intake

While there are some little benefits that are associated with alcohol, such as digestion, frequent intake of alcohol increases heart rate and consequently leads to high blood pressure. Avoid taking alcohol that is beyond 5 glasses. Excessive consumption of alcohol leads to the thinning of the blood vessels, increasing the blood pressure through the blood vessels. Some alcohol products, such as beer, are made of barley, which is characterized by an increase in body weight. Additionally, excessive consumption of alcohol can damage other vital organs such as the liver and kidney, leading to overworking of the heart.

Limit Your Caffeine Intake

If you are a person who likes to drink too much coffee, then you are at risk of developing high blood pressure. Therefore, it is high time that you limit your caffeine intake. Despite the fact that coffee and tea can be part of your balanced diet, they should not be your main source of fluid. Besides, you should not drink more than 4 cups of caffeine in a day.

However, there is still no clear reason for what leads to the increase in high blood pressure as a result of too much caffeine intake. Some studies have established that caffeine tends to block the hormone which keeps arteries wide. Besides, caffeine can also lead to the production of more adrenaline, which contributes to high blood pressure.

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, you must seek guidance from a healthcare practitioner on whether you should reduce your intake of caffeinated drinks.

Prescribed Drugs

Blood pressure can be regulated by taking drugs that are approved and certified by medical bodies. There are different prescriptive drugs that you can use to reduce the incidence of high blood pressure. The drugs prescribed to you depend on the level of your blood pressure. Avoid going to buy drugs over the counter so that you do not jeopardize your health.  Therefore, seek medical advice from a licensed practitioner with regard to the type and dose of a given drug. 


High blood pressure is a health condition that everyone should strive to counter. You can limit hypertension by making some lifestyle changes, including dieting, engaging in exercise, and avoiding substance abuse. Avoid foods with high salt and fat because they increase your risk of hypertension. Some social changes you can make in your life include adopting meditation because of its ability to reduce the amount of stress in the body. Note that taking preventive measures against hypertension is the first step in keeping your health in check.  

If you want to have a healthy diet that will help you prevent high blood pressure, feel free to talk to our professional dietitians. They will recommend the right foods you can incorporate into your diet.