EFFECT OF YOUR FOOD ON BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure also known as hypertension is number 1 risk factor for death and disability in the world. It is very common among millions of Indians today and many of them are even unaware of having this disorder. Hence it is known as the ‘silent killer’ because it has no symptoms and you can live for years without knowing it. If not controlled at the right time it can lead to stroke, kidney damage, heart attack, impaired vision, congestive heart failure, and many other problems. According to The World Health Organization, the ideal blood pressure should not be greater than 115/75 mm of Hg.
The reasons for high Blood pressure are heredity, stress, excessive salt intake, overweight, poor food habits, smoking, excess alcohol, and sedentary lifestyle. But these days due to easy and convenient food options, the main reason for high BP among people is wrong food choices. What you eat and drink can have a strong effect on your blood pressure levels. Below are a few smart food choices to prevent and control high B.P.
1) Reduce salt intake: Excess salt intake holds on to the water in the body raising the blood pressure. Try to use not more than 1 tsp(6 gm salt)/day. Use herbs like pepper, jeera powder, oregano, chili flakes, lemon juice etc for adding flavor to your foods. Avoid processed foods like bread, biscuits, ketchup, ready to eat options, canned meats etc as they are led with salt.
2) Fruits and Vegetables: include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet as they contain potassium and fiber as they have the opposite effect of sodium and prevent water retention thereby reducing blood pressure. Make sure to include 3-4 fruits and 4-5 servings of veggies in a day.
3) Restrict alcohol: Alcohol has empty calories and in excess, it can increase weight and your pressure. It can affect the muscles in the blood vessels causing them to constrict. Limit your alcohol intake to not more than 1 mild drink/day with no-alcohol days in between as well.
4) Restrict coffee: Coffee has caffeine which is a stimulant and can increase heart rate and blood pressure. Though the effects of coffee are temporary, they can yet affect a hypertension patient. Try to drink coffee occasionally.
5) Get enough Vitamin D from sunlight and fortified foods like milk, cereals, yogurts etc because vitamin D deficiency can affect blood pressure as it plays an important role in calcium metabolism. Calcium is important for normal smooth muscle contraction.
6) Good fats: choose goof fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds like flax seeds, chia, sesame etc with omega 3 fatty acids as they prevent weight gain and help to maintain normal blood pressure. Avoid fried foods, ghee, butter, and margarine.
Try to exercise daily for 1 hour like walks, jog, run, dance, aerobics, swimming etc as it is imperative for maintaining normal blood pressure.
Blood Pressure is not a disease but a symptom which if not cured for a longer period of time may result in various other problems and dysfunction in the body.
Have a great Day!!!!