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Joint Commission International

TIPS FOR HEART HEALTH & MANAGING YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE

Have your blood pressure checked on schedule

  • Stay physically active
  • Do moderate-intensity exercises for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week
  • Develop a simple walking plan
  • Use stairs instead of elevators
  • Park your car so you have to do some walking
  • Enjoy everyday exercises, such as gardening, dancing & housework
  • Avoid all tobacco smoke
  • If you smoke, quit
  • If you don’t smoke, don’t start
  • Stay clear of second hand smoke
  • Take high blood pressure medications as directed
  • Reduce salt in food
  • Watch out for both table salt & sodium
  • Have less than 2,400 milligrams of all sodium a day
  • Include kosher salt & sea salt when adding up your sodium intake
  • Choose fresh or plain frozen vegetables
  • Eat fresh poultry, fish & lean meat
  • Flavor foods with herbs & spices
  • Keep the salt shaker off the table
  • Cook rice, pasta & hot cereals without salt
  • Cut back on instant or flavored rice, pasta & cereal mixes
  • Avoid frozen dinners high in salt
  • Limit processed foods like canned and instant soups
  • Cut back on salty snacks
  • Look for food labels that say low, light, reduced sodium, sodium free or unsalted
  • Check with your doctor before using salt substitutes
  • Limit baking soda, soy sauce, MSG & seasoned salts
  • Check antacids for sodium content
  • Use fewer store-bought sauces and mixes
  • Rinse salt from canned foods
  • Limit smoked, cured or processed beef, pork or poultry
  • Aim for a daily intake of 7-8 servings of grains & grain products, 4-5 servings of vegetables, 4-5 servings of fruit, 2-3 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods, 2 or less servings of meat, poultry & fish
  • Have 4-5 servings of nuts, seeds & dry beans a week
  • Have 2-3 servings of fats & oils daily
  • Have 5 servings of sweets a week
  • Add extra fruits, vegetables & grains to your diet gradually to avoid bloating & diarrhea
  • Add a vegetable or fruit serving at meals
  • If you have trouble digesting dairy products, try milk with added lactase enzyme
  • Choose whole-grain foods
  • Enjoy fruits for desserts
  • Treat meat as one part of a meal, not the focus
  • Have 2 or more meatless meals a week
  • Lose excess weight
  • Aim to lose no more than 2 lbs per week
  • Add physical activities & reduce calorie intake for a steady weight loss
  • Eat smaller portions
  • Use smaller plates so portions look larger
  • Eat slowly
  • Have a glass of water before meals
  • Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products
  • Buy fruits canned in their own juices
  • Limit foods with lots of added sugar, such as candy bars & fruit drinks
  • Snack on fruits, vegetables, unbuttered & unsalted popcorn
  • Use fat-free salad dressings
  • Select low-fat or fat-free condiments
  • Use food labels to compare fat content, calories & sodium in packaged foods
  • Add fruit to plain yogurt
  • Drink water & club soda
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk
  • Buy fat-free or low-fat cheeses
  • Eat fruits & vegetables without butter or sauces
  • Choose lean cuts of meat, fish, skinless turkey & chicken
  • When eating out avoid fried foods
  • Ask for fat-free rather than whole milk
  • Trim all the visible fat from poultry or meat
  • Order dishes without butter, gravy & sauces
  • Request salad dressing on the side
  • Ask that less cooking oil be used
  • If you drink alcoholic beverages have no more than 1 drink a day for women, 2 for men
  • Keep stress in check
  • Try meditation
  • Learn about blood pressure
  • Make time to relax
  • Set goals to help lower your blood pressure and when you reach them reward yourself!
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