Tips to maintain a normal blood pressure reading

People with hypertension should reduce their intake of salt, by consuming food such as low-salt chicken briyani (above).
People with hypertension should reduce their intake of salt, by consuming food such as low-salt chicken briyani (above).PHOTO: HEALTH PROMOTION BOARD

People with hypertension should take the medicines prescribed and adopt a healthy lifestyle to keep the condition in check.

Professor Tan Huay Cheem, chairman of the Singapore Heart Foundation, offers some tips:

Choose a balanced diet Maintaining a healthy weight is important in keeping blood pressure under control. Increased body weight raises blood pressure and possibly the need for higher doses and more drugs to control the pressure.

Choose a healthy and balanced diet that includes carbohydrate, protein, fruit and vegetables in meals, as they provide the necessary fuel for daily activities.

Reduce salt intake Reduce your intake of salt, saturated fat and cholesterol, while increasing that of fibre and potassium, lean protein and high calcium from foods such as low-fat dairy.

The daily consumption of salt a day should be less than 5g (one teaspoon) as recommended by the World Health Organisation. However, in the National Nutrition Survey 2020 conducted by Health Promotion Board (HPB), Singaporeans were found to consume 8.3g daily.

Dietary salt occurs naturally in fresh food. It also comes from salt added in cooking, as well as preserved and processed food.

Choose fresh food over preserved food, look out for HPB healthier choice symbols such as "lower in sodium" or "no added sodium" and always reduce the use of additional salt and sauces in cooking or at the table. Exercise regularly Regular physical activity is important. The Ministry of Health's recommendation is to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week, or at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five to seven days a week. Drink alcohol in moderation Alcohol should be consumed in moderation. It adds to calorie intake and can cause weight gain.

The recommended amount is one can of beer, one glass of wine or one shot of hard liquor a day, and drinkers should keep at least two alcohol-free days a week.

 
 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2020, with the headline 'Tips to maintain a normal blood pressure reading'. Print Edition | Subscribe