Drugs alone are rarely the answer for high blood pressure — attention to diet, exercise, and other lifestyle habits is important, too. Here’s what you can do to lower your blood pressure without drugs, or to enhance the effect of any drugs you take:
- Eat lots of vegetables and some fruit.
- Prepare most of the food you eat at home, using unprocessed ingredients.
- Reduce or eliminate the salt in recipes.
- When you buy canned, frozen, or other packaged foods, read the labels, and choose those that are lower in sodium.
- Moderate your alcohol intake, particularly if you’re a man who currently consumes more than two drinks a day or a woman who consumes more than one a day.
- Take a walk or do some other form of aerobic exercise most days of the week.
- Make an effort to get enough sleep. Tell your doctor if you snore.
- Stop smoking if you smoke. Ask your health-care provider for help, or contact a smokers’ helpline in your area. Many states and communities offer free help for quitting smoking.