NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - The American Heart Association's new blood pressure guidelines mean more people have high blood pressure. Doctors say that under these guidelines the number of Americans diagnosed with high blood pressure will jump about 40 percent.
High blood pressure is a silent killer and is a controllable factor in heart disease, according to Dr. Rachel Bond, the associate director of women's heart health at Lenox Hill Hospital. She said that you can help control high blood pressure by modifying your lifestyle. Cardio exercise and lifting weights are recommended for 30 minutes at least four times a week. But if you can't commit to that, Dr. Bond said walk briskly to work, get your heart going in other ways.
As for your diet, stay away from processed foods, which contain artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, sugar and salt, she said. Salt is a really big problem when it comes to high blood pressure.
Many doctors recommend swapping out processed foods and eating healthy fats like avocados, raw nuts and coconut oil. Eating leafy greens, like kale and spinach, beets and garlic is also recommended.
And also: Don't smoke and limit alcohol. Men shouldn't drink more than glasses of alcohol a day and women should have no more than one glass per day, Dr. Bond said.
Get rest: sleeping six or more hours every night is recommended.
And reducing stress is important, so consider trying meditation.
Dr. Bond said taking these steps may help you avoid taking medication but consult your doctor first.