High blood pressure can be termed the bane of modernisation because in primitive cultures, blood pressure was practically unknown. This disease is a result of a destructive lifestyle, smoking, obesity, alcohol intake, insulin resistance and stress. It has three major consequences stroke, heart attack and kidney damage.
While some people may require medications to keep their blood pressure under control, most can control it with proper diet, weight loss, vitamin supplements and stress management. Eating one's way out of high blood pressure should be the first choice of treatment. To keep heart attacks and strokes at bay, the blood pressure should ideally be maintained at 120/80 and not be in excess 140/90.
If a stress-senstive person is exposed to stressful conditions over a prolonged period of time, the blood vessels get constricted as a result. This construction causes the blood pressure to rise. Here are a few ways to combat stress.
Chill out : Some of the easiest ways to combat mental stress is to take some time out for yoga or meditation. Pranayam or simple breathing exercise can also help lower the blood pressure. A relaxed vacation is also a great stress-buster.
Losing weight : If you are overweight, begin a gradual weight loss programme to get your blood pressure level to normal.
Eat more fruits and vegetables : Studies show that switching to a vegetarian diet helps. Fruits are concentrated with potassium, Vitamin C, sodium and loads of soluble fibre, all of which are blood pressure lowering agents.
Foods that help to keep blood pressure in check: Garlic : Known as a vasodilator, it dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. It contains adenosine, a compound, which promotes vasodilatation and is also a muscle relaxant. Both raw and cooked garlic benefit blood pressure.
Wheat grass juice : This is a rich source of magnesium and potassium. Which lower blood pressure. It also cleans and nourishes the body, and work wonders on the immune system.
Celery : Studies have shown that just a few stalks of celery can lower blood pressure when used continuously for a couple of months.
Fish : Fish oils are known to keep a lid on blood pressure thanks to the omega-3 fats present in them. Fish like mackerel (bangda), tuna and surmai help in reducing blood pressure.
Eat less salt : Sodium restriction may help only if you are salt sensitive. Adding minerals like magnesium, calciuma nd potassium, and losing weight will make a substantial difference.
Stop smoking : Tobacco increases clot formation and precipitates the risk of a heart attack or storke.
Supplements that lower blood pressure
Potassium : Potassium relaxes blood vessels and rids the body of excess water and salt. The richest sources of potassium are banana, papaya, potatoes, tomatoes, soybeans and pulses.
Calcium : Calcium rich foods like milk, curd and spinach can neutralise the hypertensive effect of eating more sodium.
Magnesium : Most people need a daily dosage of about 300-400 mg to keep their BP in check. Natural sources of magneisum include nuts, whole grains, wheat bran and leafy vegetables.