By Kathy Emiko
You are not just what you eat, but what you also absorb and eliminate!
The most important measures for wellbeing are:
â€¢Avoid being overweight;
â€¢Keep alcohol consumption down;
â€¢Reduce salt intake or cut out salt all together;
â€¢Exercise regularly; a minimum of 30-minute sessions, three times a week; and,
Keep the weight off:
There is a strong link between being overweight and having high blood pressure. If your weightâ€™s above normal for your height, you should aim to lose the extra pounds and bring your blood pressure down. You donâ€™t need to aim for an ideal weight. Try to be within the healthy range for your height. If you canâ€™t lose weight by yourself, try seeing a dietician for advice on different ways to change how and what you eat.
Even if youâ€™re not overweight;
â€¢Eat fish, white meat (for example, chicken without the skin, low fat yogurt, semi-skimmed milk).
â€¢Aim for seven pieces of fresh fruits and vegetables a day – eat seasonal vegetables and fruit, when you can; a diet containing plenty of fruits and vegetables increases potassium intake, which lowers blood pressure.
â€¢Grill food instead of frying it when possible.
â€¢Donâ€™t take full fat milk, fried foods, pastries, biscuits and fatty meat.
Reduce salt intake:
High intake of salt affects your blood pressure. Salt can also increase the amount of fluid that you retain in your body.
Fresh food contains very little salt. Most of the salt we eat is in processed foods, or salt added to food while cooking or at the table. So, try to reduce the amount of salt you eat.
â€¢Look at labels on foods you eat, if sodium chloride (NaCl), sodium bensolate or monosodium glutamate is included in the list, you may be eating extra salt without knowing.
â€¢Cut down on processed foods. Salt is hidden in many processed foods – tinned or packed foods which include breakfast cereals, bread, crisps, nuts and pre-packed meals.
â€¢Use salt very sparingly in cooking if at all. If you feel that you canâ€™t do without salt, you might try a salt substitute.
Keep alcohol levels down. Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol is harmless unless youâ€™re trying to lose weight, but high intake increases your chance of developing high blood pressure.
A lot of alcohol the night before can raise your blood pressure significantly the next day.
Exercise helps to reduce blood pressure and keeps your weight down. Itâ€™s also a good stress reliever; stress isnâ€™t a cause of high blood pressure, although many people believe it is.
What type of exercise should you do? Walking, swimming, cycling, jogging, dancing or gardening is good for you. The important thing is to choose an activity that you enjoy. If you donâ€™t like a particular form of exercise, youâ€™ll find out that you wonâ€™t do it regularly enough. Exercise doesnâ€™t need to be strenuous either. You should start slowly and gradually build up the amount of exercise you do. Start by walking briskly. You donâ€™t have to jog unless you wish to. Use the stairs and keep mobile – move always. Aim to do at least 20-30 minutes of exercise, three times a week. For some people, it isnâ€™t advisable to lift heavy weights or to take part in strenuous activities.
Giving up smoking wonâ€™t lower your blood pressure, but it lowers your risk of getting high blood pressure by minimizing the chance of blood vessel damage that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Nutrients that help lower or reduce blood pressure:
(c) Coenzyme Q10 (significantly reduces blood pressure)
(d) Selenium (may be especially beneficial for women at risk of hypertension)
(e) Vitamin C.
Foods that help lower or reduce blood pressure:
1. Fresh fruits – contain potassium which lowers blood pressure
3. Citrus fruits
4. Fresh vegetables
5. Green leafy vegetables
9. Whole grains
12. Extra virgin olive oil
16. Oolong tea
Drinking two or more servings of sweet drinks a day could increase your risk of coronary heart disease by 35 percent (from a new US study).
Researchers discovered that regular consumption of drinks sweetened with fructose affected the function of the liver, increasing coronary heart disease.
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