This article is written in collaboration with Naluri

You may hear of hypertension, but when it comes to prehypertension, many are not aware of it. Being prehypertensive means that you are very likely to become hypertensive if you do not change your lifestyle. This is usually the case if your blood pressure reading has a top number consistently ranges from 120 to 139 mmHg, or your bottom number consistently ranges from 80 to 89 mmHg.

Yet, being aware of your condition may not necessarily translate to efficient healthy living practices. Many people are aware of healthy lifestyle choices but still fail to initiate changes. Lack of intrinsic motivation and overwhelming information can be a contributing factor. Thus, we have formulated a simple way for you to remember the basic steps to deal with prehypertension under the categories of Fitness, Food and Fun.

Fitness

Being overweight increases the risk of having prehypertension. Research has shown that with some weight loss efforts, prehypertension can be reduced by 20% among overweight individuals. 

Having an active lifestyle not only helps you lose weight but also helps you to tame prehypertension.  It was found that if you have high blood pressure, even 30 minutes of brisk walking in most days of the week can help reduce your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg. But be consistent in your fitness pursuit to see the best result.

Food

Decrease your salt intake by reducing process food as well as using herbs or spices instead of adding salt for flavour. It will also help to keep a food journal to monitor your eating habits and any cheat meals. This helps you to have more accountability and control over your food intake. Make sure that you will read food labels and stick to your healthy-eating plan even when you’re dining out.

Practice a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products with minimal saturated fat. Increasing the amount of potassium in your food intake can also help to tame prehypertension.

However, this can sometimes be challenging to practice. So, start gradually and be consistent. If you do not usually eat much vegetables, increase the amount by one spoon. If you do not usually consume fruits, add a potassium-rich fruit to your diet once a week such as having a banana dipped in dark chocolate in the weekend. Both of these food items have been said to help with lowering hypertension. 

Fun

The emotions we experience are linked to our health through a vicious cycle. The more fear and anger we have, the higher the risk of having prehypertension and vice versa. Research has shown that emotions such as anger and anxiety can increase blood pressure to variable degrees. Stress can increase stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine and in the long run, can increase the likelihood of developing high blood pressure.

Take time every day to have some fun ‘me time’ and ‘self care’ routine. Make caring for your well-being a priority. Laughter, happiness and a sense of humour have been found to decrease stress hormones, reduce artery inflammation and increase HDL, the “good” cholesterol, according to American Heart Association (AHA). Watching positive and funny shows either on tv or on the internet can help you with that.

Be more flexible in your thinking. Those who are rigid in their thinking can sometimes find themselves easily stressed out when their expectations do not match their realities. Alter your expectations to adapt with your current reality. A helpful tip would be to remind yourself that although there may be some aspects in life we may not always have control over, we can always control how we choose to react to them.

Our physical health is very much connected to our mental and emotional health and vice versa. Therefore prioritizing time for self-care is one of the most important investments you can make in life with a healthy return that no amount of fortune can buy.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Naluri – Pioneering next generation digital therapeutics combining behavioural science, data science and digital design to build the mental resilience needed to achieve your goals and overcome life’s challenges that stand in your way.

Sources
Pamilia Lourdunathan Clinical Psychology
Pamilia is a clinical psychologist and health coach at Naluri, with more than 2 years of practising experience as a clinical psychologist in the government ...
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Pamilia Lourdunathan Clinical Psychology
Pamilia is a clinical psychologist and health coach at Naluri, with more than 2 years of practising experience as a clinical psychologist in the government and private sectors under the pediatric and adult unit. She obtained her Master's degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from International Islamic University Malaysia and is currently completing her doctoral degree in Psychology at the same institution. She has also received certification on person-centred counselling skills.
Pamilia also has experience as an academician and enjoys conducting research. She is currently in the process of implementing an intervention program aiming to improve the emotional, behavioural and social well-being of adolescents living with HIV at shelter homes. She is passionate about helping the homeless and is experienced as a workshop assistant facilitator in collaboration with Pertubuhan Tindakan Wanita Islam (PERTIWI) and Human Relations Wellness Development (HRW).
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