Let’s Talk About Blood Pressure

Let’s Talk About Blood Pressure

What is it?

Blood pressure is a measure of the force that your heart uses to pump blood around your body.

Did you know?

Believe it or not, drinking Hibiscus Tea 3 times a day has been shown to lower blood pressure by as much as 7 points! If you want to indulge… clinical research shows eating chocolate which is very high in cocoa can actually lower blood pressure.

Recommended Serving Sizes

Sweets: 1 cup low-fat yogurt, 1/2 cup low-fat frozen yogurt, 1 Tbs. maple syrup, sugar or jam

Beans, Nuts & Seeds: 1/2 cup cooked beans, 1/2 cup nuts, 2 tbs. sunflower seeds

Low-Fat Dairy: 1 cup milk or yogurt, 1 1/2 oz. cheese

Fruits: 1 medium fruit, 1/2 cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit, 1/2 cup dried fruit, 1/4 cup fruit juice

Oils, Salad Dressing, Mayo: 1 tsp. oil or soft margarine, 1 tsp. regular mayonnaise, 1 Tbs. low-fat mayonnaise, 1 Tbs. regular salad dressing, 2 Tbs. light salad dressing.

Seafood, Poultry, Lean Meats: 3 oz. broiled or roasted, seafood, skinless poultry or lean meat.

Grains: 1 slice bread, 1/2 cup dry cereal, 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta or cereal

Vegetables: 1 cup lettuce, 1/2 cup other vegetables.

How To Properly Measure:

Make Sure The Cuff Fits.
Measure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff.

Be Still.
Don’t smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise within the 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure.

Sit Correctly.
Sit with your back straight and supported Your feet should be flat on the floor; don’t cross your legs. Your arm should be supported on a flat surface (such as a table) with the upper arm at heart level. Make sure the middle of the cuff is placed directly above the eye of the elbow.

Take Multiple Readings.
Each time you measure, take two or three readings one minute apart and record all the results.

Category Systolic Blood Pressure (mmHg) Diastolic Blood Pressure(mmHg)


Less than 120



121 -139



Stage 1

140 -159



Pressure Stage 2

160 or higher

100 or higher


Crisis **

Higher than 180

Higher than 110

What else you can do at home to help with your blood pressure:

• Limit salt intake to 1500mg a day (check out the sodium calculator at www.projectbiglife.ca/sodium)

• Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grain foods, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and unsalted nuts.

• Limit alcohol intake to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.

• Exercise! Aim for 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise 3 to 4 times a week. Lift weights 2 times a week and do not forget to work on flexibility and stretching.

• Avoid all tobacco products.

Small changes can make a BIG DIFFERENCE

*Differences between left-arm and right-arm blood pressure are common. In general, any difference of 10 mm Hg or less is considered normal and not a cause for concern. If one arm consistently has higher blood pressure than the other, that arm should be used to measure your blood pressure.

**Always seek immediate medical help.

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