How old are you? Are you a male or a female? Does your work involve travelling or is a desk job? Are you pregnant? What is your Blood pressure? Most of us may have answers to all the questions except the last one. On a second thought, do you really know what is your blood pressure?
Blood pressure is not a disease. It is a condition caused by life style. The bad news is it has no symptoms in the developing stage. Only a pulsating headache at times which most of us tend to ignore. The good news is it can be totally controlled through lifestyle and diet modifications and without any medications. It is not surprising to know that most people develop blood pressure during their productive age that is between 24 – 40 years. The culprit is stressful job, smoking, alcohol, junk food, fast and frozen food, processed food and lack of exercise and some have it in the genes. The reason why most of us do not realize increasing blood pressure is because it has no symptoms.
Blood pressure is associated with salt. When kidneys cannot balance excess salt, it begins to retain salt and the excess salt retains more water thereby increasing the fluid pressure. Excess salt is found in sauces like soya sauce, tomato ketchup, mustard sauce, salad dressing, processed food like cheese, bread, pickles, brines, packet foods, cornflakes, dried foods. Remember, a food item may not taste that salty but may contain salt in various forms like the one found in bread or any bakery items. Even a muffin is processed, and considered high in sodium even if it tastes sweet. Likewise, coco powder is high in sodium and so are some chocolates. Caffeine also increases blood pressure. On an average we eat bread almost every alternate day. Indian food style involves a lot of pickles and chutneys. American food habits involve a lot of caffeine, sauces, salad dressings, breads, cheese, French consume a lot of bread and cheese, and Mexicans consume many varieties of brines. Far East use MSG in almost every food item. It can get very difficult to cut down on salt intake. As by the principles of MY PLATE, I believe in focusing on what to eat rather than what not to eat. Below are few changes one can make:
1) Increase intake of fruits. They contain potassium that regulates blood pressure.
2) Increased intake of magnesium containing foods like broccoli, drumsticks, flax seeds, almonds.
3) Use alternate natural flavors like lime juice, mint, garlic, ginger
4) Increase intake of calcium, and fiber. Fiber will help to against developing heart conditions.
5) Prefer more of unprocessed and natural foods.
6) Check he food labels of every item. If the sodium percent is more than 5% of RDA per serving, it is considered high.
7) STOP SMOKING.
8) Cut down on alcohol. Though alcohol does not increase blood pressure directly but it results in weight gain, which hinders lowering of blood pressure.
9) Develop a healthy workout routine.
10) Track your blood pressure on regular basis. Use your smart phones!
11) Sleep well.
Congratulations if you are detected with high blood pressure!!! Now is better than later. Stop worrying, and write to My Plate at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can manage your blood pressure without medications.