High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, has been a silent killer for many years. Nobody knows when the disease affects them as the symptoms vary per individual. For those who have been diagnosed with hypertension, some people opt to take medication and some result to natural methods. However, what most people don’t realize is that a healthy lifestyle helps lower blood pressure.
About Hypertension or high blood pressure, means that the blood pushes through your arteries with more force than it should. When that happens, your cardiovascular system overworks itself. Too much blood pressure can damage your arteries and lead to conditions, such as:
In the United States, the CDC records about 75 million or 29% adults have hypertension. Unfortunately, the numbers are growing. We could attribute it to the fact that more and more Americans resort to fast food, and less have time for exercise.
Causes of Hypertension
While the exact causes of hypertension are unknown, many factors contribute to it. Most factors stem from age, genetics, and lifestyle.
Some people are also more predisposed to hypertension due to the following factors:
⦁ Family history of hypertension
⦁ People who smoke or who have smoked
⦁ Women who take birth control pills
⦁ Excessive intake of alcohol
⦁ Too much fatty food or salt intake
⦁ Low metabolism and low activity
⦁ Sleep apnea
Blood Pressure Lowering Foods
Foods that are rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber help lower blood pressure. Some people take magnesium and potassium supplements to compensate for the loss. The U.S Recommended Dietary Allowance of magnesium for men is 400 to 420 mg a day. Potassium is also a major factor in lowering blood pressure.
This mineral helps the body function properly by making sure that the effect of salt is balanced. Too much salt, or sodium, negatively affect the kidneys. Your kidneys help filter the blood and remove excess water. When sodium wreaks havoc into your kidneys, it reduces the kidney’s ability to drain the body of the excess water. The more body fluid you have, the higher the blood pressure. This is why people who have low activity don’t sweat too much and are prone to hypertension.
The US National Institutes of Health developed the DASH diet plan to help lower blood pressure without the use of medication.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The diet focuses on the amount of food intake, a balance of nutrients, and lower sodium intake. It is best to keep a chart to help you monitor your diet. The chart should also serve as guidelines for you.
10 Nutritional Tips to Help Lower High Blood Pressure:
⦁ Increase food and vegetable intake-
⦁ Fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Avoid fruit juices, because no matter how “natural” they claim to be the fiber has been removed. 4 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables should be a staple part of your daily diet. Nuts, seeds, and legumes are also good sources of magnesium.
⦁ Stock up on healthy snacks – Snacks are an important part of the meal plan. Skipping meals is unhealthy because your body feels hungry even if you don’t and stocks up on carbohydrates.
⦁ Prepare small cups of fruits and nuts such as macadamia nuts, unsalted peanuts, walnuts mixed with strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, or pineapple. Snacking on these helps pave off your hunger pangs and keeps you healthy, too.
⦁ Avoid too much red meat, sweets, cholesterol, and fat – Too much of anything is not okay. Therefore, you can still eat bacon and pancakes with your favorite maple syrup, but make sure not to overdo it.
⦁ Red meat such as bacon, hot dogs, and ham are full of preservatives and sodium. Limit your sweets to a maximum of five servings a week. There are also healthier options to that big slice of chocolate cake.
⦁ You can choose from low-fat cookies such as oatmeal cookies, fruit yogurt, fruit ices, and jelly beans.
⦁ You can also use artificial sweeteners but in minimal amounts. Instead of drinking regular soda, why not swap it for a diet soda instead? On the other hand, you may also need to reduce your coffee intake and alcohol. If you are a coffee drinker, you may need to limit your intake to one cup a day and use Nutrasweet instead of sugar. Some studies say that wine is good for the heart. An after dinner glass of wine is good but not in excess.
⦁ Whole Grains and White Meat – You can still eat the same food that you like, but there are a few modifications. Go for white meat instead of that juicy drumstick. Instead of white rice, you can opt for red or brown rice. Substitute white bread for whole wheat. It is recommended that you consume about 6 to 8 servings per day of grains such as cereal, rice, or pasta. As a healthier option, you can bake, steam, or broil your food instead of frying.
⦁ Calcium, Protein, and Vitamin D – Milk and dairy should still be a regular part of your daily diet. You should have 2 to 3 servings of either non-fat milk, fat-free cheese, and yogurt.
Health is wealth. It is important that we maintain a healthy lifestyle. Having the proper diet is a start.
Regular exercise or even cardio activities such as walking not only keeps us fit but healthy as well. We need to make a few sacrifices, but in the end, it will be worth it.
Annie Jones is the person behind BoostBodyFit.
She started off a bit on the chubby side but went through a transformation.
She looks and feels great.