Ways to Maintain Normal Blood Pressure During the Holidays
Plan Ahead: Plan your activities in advance for different days to allocate enough time for all your responsibilities and not compromise your health. Utilize a paper list or an application to stay aware of everything coming your way. This way, you'll avoid piling up too many commitments in one day, which can lead to unnecessary stress, a potential precursor to elevated blood pressure.
Online Shopping: Shop online or several weeks earlier to sidestep long queues at stores just before the holidays. This reduces the stress associated with last-minute shopping and crowded places.
Home Workouts: Engage in home workouts to combat stress. Dedicate 20-30 minutes each day to online yoga or strength training. This helps normalize stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and provides essential personal time often lacking during the holidays. The recommended weekly physical activity is between 75-150 minutes.
Short Breaks: Even if time is limited, opt for a brief 10-minute workout or a quick walk to a nearby store instead of staying sedentary at home. These short breaks contribute to overall well-being and can positively impact blood pressure.
What About Nutrition?
Prepare your meals at home for the majority of the holidays. This ensures clarity about the ingredients you use and how you prepare your food. Avoid adding too much salt to your dishes or consuming fried foods or those high in refined sugar, as they are not good allies in the fight against high blood pressure. Try to involve various family members in culinary duties and incorporate a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, soups, salads, meats, and dairy products. Remember that it's not advisable to shop on an empty stomach, so it's best to be prepared with a clear list of what and how much you need to buy.
Balance your portions because it's important not only what we eat but also how much. If a hearty dinner is on the horizon, ensure you don't overindulge in snacks and lunch to avoid burdening your body. Overeating for several consecutive days leads to the retention of excess fluids in the body, which doesn't help the cardiovascular system function optimally.
If you're invited as a guest and anticipate an unhealthy menu, have a snack beforehand or bring a healthily prepared alternative. Choose foods rich in fiber and protein and avoid desserts (or save them for later when you're already satisfied to control your appetite). Include cranberries and sweet potatoes in your menu. Cranberries contain antioxidants that help eliminate excess fluids and substances in the body and are a good source of vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are a source of calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, B, C, and E, serving as excellent antioxidants rich in beta-carotene. Carrots and green vegetables are suitable additions to the holiday menu. (5)
What Other Measures Can We Take?
Stay Hydrated: Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. This aids in circulation and hydration, which is crucial for individuals with high blood pressure.
Prioritize Sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Regardless of the season, your body requires sufficient sleep to function optimally. Establish a consistent sleep schedule, and don't hesitate to take naps during the day if possible.
Limit Alcohol Intake: Restrict alcohol consumption to 1 glass per day for women and 2 glasses per day for men. One glass equals a small beer, 150 ml of wine, or 50 ml of hard alcohol. Don't exceed these limits, even during festive occasions. Consider having a glass of water with lemon before consuming an alcoholic beverage to reduce the likelihood of excessive alcohol intake. Moderate Coffee Consumption: Avoid excessive coffee consumption, as it may contribute to elevated blood pressure. Limit your intake to 2 cups per day.
Take Medications as usual: Adhere to your regular medication schedule. Carry portable pill organizers to ensure you have your medications with you at all times. Supplements like magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, beetroot extract, vitamin D3, grape seed oil, and collagen have proven beneficial effects on heart health, especially during holiday periods.
Check Medication Ingredients: Examine the ingredients of over-the-counter flu and antiviral medications you might take during the holidays, as they often contain substances unsuitable for individuals with high blood pressure.
Remember that the most important advice is to take care of your health and maintain normal blood pressure while celebrating and spending time with your loved ones. This way, we can most easily achieve a balance that can turn into a permanent lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How does blood pressure change during different periods?
Blood pressure often varies during various activities throughout the day, either decreasing or increasing depending on these activities. Changes in body posture and even speaking can alter blood pressure. Generally, blood pressure tends to be higher during the day compared to nighttime, as well as higher in winter than in summer. Systolic blood pressure, or the upper limit, increases with age and with an increase in body weight.
- What are the reasons for high blood pressure?
There is no straightforward answer to this question. Many factors influence high blood pressure, often a combination of genetics and the environment in which we live. Since genetics and the environment are interdependent, it is challenging to precisely determine which has a greater or lesser impact; rather, they typically work together as contributing factors.