Preventing Blood Pressure With Healthy Diets

Healthy diets. Photo: tipsweb.org Mrs. Theresa Ukoh, a 45-year-old mother of five woke up hale and hearty, but as the day went by, she became moody. She went to the National Library, Abuja, with her husband to get research materials for her project for a post graduate degree course. The exercise was futile as she could hardly find any relevant materiel on the topic. Theresa became more and more anxious, because the date for the submission of the project was very near. This gave her concern and sleepless night.

At midnight, Theresa’s husband said he heard her scream once and afterwards his wife could not speak anymore and one part of her body was getting cold. All efforts to resuscitate her failed. He took her to the hospital. After preliminary investigation, the doctor said Theresa’s blood pressure was 250/150. This made her have stroke. As a result, the right side of Theresa’s brain was affected. Theresa could only move the left side of her body.

Gradually, she got out of the coma. She opened her eyes, but then she could not talk, nor walk, let alone seat. After one month at the National Hospital, she was discharged as doctors say recovery after a stroke was slow. It is five years since Theresa had that attack. Now, by a miraculous intervention, she can walk and talk, but yet to use her right hand yet.

May 17th was the World Hypertension Day .The theme for this year’s World Hypertension Day is Healthy lifestyle – healthy blood pressure. Exercise regularly, reduce salt intake and control sugar level to keep blood pressure normal, says experts. Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is eating healthy diets.

Some foods that help lower blood pressure include celery, salmons/tuna fish. Mrs. Serah Abagia Head, Dietetics Department, National Hospital, Abuja says “salmon and tuna fish are recommended, because it has omega three fatty acid which is a healthy oil. Again, berries have anti-oxidant. Once a food has anti-oxidants, it helps to deal with plaques. Also, one needs low fat diary. Similarly, it is mandatory to eat fruits and vegetables. They are mandatory as part of a meal in large quantity. It’s good to start with fruits because it helps boost your appetite and they prepare the system to receive food for digestion,” Abagia says.

Plant-based diets and diets high in fruits and vegetables are strongly associated with lower blood pressure. It features foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, with a particular focus on fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. Some foods on this list are not only packed with nutrients that support overall health, but they also help lower blood pressure. Here’s how:

Celery

Doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been prescribing celery or celery root to patients with high blood pressure for more than a century. Studies have shown benefit in animals as well as humans.

How it works: Celery contains photochemical known as phthalides, which relax the muscle tissue in the artery walls, enabling increased blood flow and, in turn, lowering blood pressure.

How much: Research suggests that eating four stalks of celery per day may be helpful in lowering blood pressure. For a boost of protein, add a tablespoon of unsalted peanut butter; both are high in monounsaturated fat (the heart-healthy kind).

Cold-water fish

Cold-water fish are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, which are famous for their cardiovascular benefits. In particular, omega-3s lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines are among the best sources.

How it works: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids: The human body can’t make them, so we need to get them from the food we eat. Omega-3s act as a natural blood thinner, making it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body. Less viscous (thick) blood is also less likely to form clots in veins and arteries.

How much: According to experts, six servings per week of most cold-water fish is a safe amount for most people, including pregnant women and nursing mothers, to reap the health benefits with minimal risk from exposure to toxins.

Beans

Legumes boast a high fiber-to-protein ratio that you won’t find in any other type of food. This combination works wonders for regulating blood sugar and lowering blood cholesterol levels, both of which are related to maintaining normal blood pressure.

How they work: beans are a nutrient-dense source of fibre and magnesium, which are essential for healthy blood pressure levels. What puts them at a distinct advantage over other foods, though, is the folate you will find in these legumes. Folate, also known as folic acid in its synthetic form, is a B-complex vitamin that appears to lower blood pressure (especially systolic blood pressure) by relaxing blood vessels and improving blood flow.

How much: 400 micrograms of folate is the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Aim for that as a minimum; 800 micrograms daily has shown significant benefit in reducing blood pressure in multiple large-scale studies. One cup of cooked beans provides 256 micrograms of folate. Many cereals are also fortified with folic acid.

Unfortunately now days due to social and financial constraints people are having complaints of high blood pressure even at very young age but it is controllable. Modifying lifestyle; balanced diet; less use of salt, sugar and fat to keep control the weight; eating of green vegetables should be frequent.

Experts say hypertension can be caused due to obesity, smoking, physical inactivity, and alcohol. So people should visit the doctor for checkups after every six months.

Daily Trust

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