High blood pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension is a well-documented risk. factor in heart attacks, strokes and angina, most people with high blood pressure have no symptom but it is commonly observed during company and routine medical checks. The development of high blood pressure is one of the first signs that the body is riot coping with some aspect of use; it could be excess weight, smoking, stress, lack of exercise poor eating habits While many people are told that they have high blood pressure, how know what it means and how food and lifestyle changes can help then correct it.

Blood pressure is the force exerted by the flow of blood through your blood vessels Blood pressure readings are expressed as one number over another the upper (systolic) measurement selects the force when the heart is pumping blood around the body the lower linoleic reading is the pressure which exists in the blood vessels when they’re relaxed between heart beats Normal blood pressure readings are in the region of 120/80.

The latter figure, representing diastolic pressure is the important one in terms of establishing whether you have hypertension. There with a diastolic   between 90 and 105 are considered to be mildly hypertensive 105 to 120 represents moderate hyper aeration severe hypertension (high secret pressure when the pressures above 120. Hypertension can be caused by heart or kidney problems, but in nine out of tent cases there is no known cause.

Hypertension tends to run in Families, and blood pressure usually Increases as we get older. If there are underlying problems you may need to take medication but for the majority of people who suffer from simple hypertension, you can help yourself by few modifications to your lifestyle reducing stress taking exercise, quitting smoking looking at the way you eat and choosing foods and drinks that help rather than hinder your body.

Why worry about high blood pressure?

If hypertension is ignored it can lead to problems such as heart disease, strokes or kidney problem. Some people need to take medication to help control their blood pressure. but most doctors suggest exploring all of the non-drug Remedies first Remember that all drugs have side effects in the case of antihypertensive these may include weight gain chronic: tiredness, feeling low, and in some cases lack of libido and impotence. In much better to see What you can do within your diet and lifestyle to help bring your blood pressure down.

How to correct hypertension

The most common contributory factors to hypertension are excess weight, stress and high blood fat levels Smoking is a strong risk factor in the development of hypertension and of course in many forms of heart disease and cancers. If you smoke try to give up.

TRY TO KEEP YOUR WEIGHT WITHIN THE IDEAL RANGE

In particular excess fat around the middle of the body presses on the important blood vessels leading to and from the heart and hence aggravates blood pressure Women with pear-shaped figures with more weight round the hips – have less of a problem than apple-shaped women and men, who commonly tend to stack the weight around their middles. If you are carrying excess fat in this area you may well find that if you reduce it your blood pressure will improve and may even cease to become a problem. Some people become obsessed with their body weight.

hopping on the scales every day This is unnecessary, and is not really telling you anything you cannot see for yourself in a mirror. The scales may put you within your ideal weight range, but fat around the middle will still aggravate hypertension Be honest with yourself and if necessary, read the chapter on Achieving your ideal weight Do not crash diet as this can put your body under stress. Never take drugs to help you lose weight as they can cause dramatic rises blood pressure.

TRY TO REDUCE STRESS

Build time into your daily schedule to allow yourself to relax There are many excellent courses tapes and books designed to help you reduce stress so hunt them out Some people learn to meditate or experiment with aromatherapy. others play a musical instrument. paint. or take yoga classes .

TAKE REGULAR EXERCISE

One of the easiest ways to reduce stress and also improve your general feeling of well-being is taking physical exercise. Try to get into the habit of doing some regular aerobic exercise throughout the week Good aerobic exercise includes brisk walking, swimming, running cycling and roller blading (Exercise such as weightlifting and squash is not as effective in bringing blood pressure down although you may think you thrash out stress on the court These exercises that use short bursts of power tend to increase blood pressure: gentler, longer lasting Exercises are the ones to go for).

Always check with your doctor before you embark on any exercise programmed, as he or she will be able to advise you as to the type and level at which you should train. Some people fall into the trap of trying to force exercise to fit into their schedule Workers rush from the office to work out at lunch time and then rush back to the office feeling shattered. Treating fitness as a military exercise creates stress and will not help lower your blood pressure. Neither will pushing your body to the limits on the running machine. You would be much better off exercising in a more relaxed manner, perhaps only managing twice a week in the gym and taking a brisk lunchtime walk or roller blading in the park on the other days.

How food can help

Many of the points made in the previous chapter about how to improve the balance of the different types of fat in your blood are relevant here. If excess fat is deposited in the blood vessels, it reduces the space through which blood can flow and causes the pressure within the blood vessels to rise. If you have a high cholesterol level do everything you can to keep it as low as possible.

Keep your Intake of animal fats such as butter cream and cheese low, and boost your intake of fiber and water Some exciting research has recently shown that a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce blood pressure. This is independent of their cholesterol lowering effects but may be linked to both their antioxidant content and their potassium content. Everyone should try to eat at least five portions of fresh fruits or vegetables every day.

First of all, make sure your diet is well balanced besides plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, you need plenty of high fiber starchy foods and water smaller but regular amounts of lean proteins and dairy products, with minimal amounts of fat, sugar and caffeine (coffee, tea and cola drinks). Consider organizing a family health day as this will give you the time to take stock of your life and encourage you to instigate the necessary changes in your diet. In addition to a generally healthy lifestyle a few specific areas of your diet may be particularly effective in reducing blood pressure.

A PINCH OF SALT

As well as watching your fat Intake you need to make sure that you are not consuming too much salt. Salt (sodium chloride) can increase fluid retention and blood pressure Sodium naturally exists in small amounts in many foods including vegetables and fruits, but it is found in far greater quantities in pre pared foods. Salt acts as a preservative, helping to keep food free of harmful bacteria and also enhances flavor.

Rather than avoiding all processed foods, you can reach a sensible compromise by including small quantities of them in your weekly eating plan alongside. plenty of fresh foods Keep very salty foods down to a minimum. Your tongue and taste buds will usually tell you which these are, but they include olives salted nuts, pickles, and cured and tinned fish and meats such as kippers and Parma harm. (Occasionally your taste buds can be fooled conflates have a greater salt concentration than the Atlantic Ocean!) Another step in reducing your salt intake is to get out of the habit up adding unnecessary salt in cooking.

Try to wean yourself off this habit, as the more salt you have, the more your body thinks it needs before it recognizes the salt taste Look for the Natural flavors of fresh fish meat and vegetables first, then think about enhancing them rather than making them with copious amounts of salt Experiment with other flavors, such as herbs and spices or marinate foods in wine before cooking Mix vegetables and fruits to create different tastes. Always taste food before adding salt at the table. If you cut down your sodium intake your blood pressure should improve.

BOOST YOUR POTASSIUM INTAKE

The best way to reduce the sodium level within your body is to increase the amount of potassium. These two minerals work together like a pair of scales – you should aim to get the balance right. By boosting your intake of potassium rich foods your body should be able to maintain a healthy sodium level. It is usually people who overindulge in salty foods and don’t cat a generally healthy diet who run into problems with salt-induced hypertension. You should not take any form of potassium supplement unless prescribed by your doctor.

They are potentially very dangerous Potassium is found in abundance in most fresh (not canned) fruits and vegetables. The following are especially rich sources Fruit: apricots, bananas, blackcurrants, dates, grapes, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, Cantaloupe melons, oranges passion fruit paw (papaya), peaches and plums, being even higher in the dried versions such as prunes, apricots, sultanas and raisins. Vegetables avocados, broad beans, peas, potatoes tomatoes, squash such as courgettis and pumpkins, cook vegetables without salt, and taste them before you add salt.

INCLUDE SOME DAIRY PRODUCTS IN YOUR DAILY DIET

Milk and natural yoghurt are rich in potassium and, along with other dairy products are also the major source of calcium in the Western diet. Calcium has been found to be helpful in correcting high blood pressure. Of course, some dairy products (cheese, buttercream are high in saturated fats, so you should not go overboard with them or you risk an increase in blood fat levels but dairy products in moderation can help improve blood pressure. You can easily obtain sufficient calcium if you incorporate skimmed and semi skimmed milk in drinks and naturally lower fat dairy foods such as yoghurt and fromage frais in your everyday cooking.

GARLIC

Several studies suggest that garlic contains substances which help reduce high blood pressure. Get into the habit of including garlic regularly in savory dishes. sauces and dressings.

OILY FISH

Mackerel, fresh herrings, sardines, pilchards, salmon, trout and tuna are all rich in omega 3 fatty acids, beneficial oils that help prevent cholesterol from depositing in your blood vessels Eating a meal based on Olly fish two or three times a week can help control your blood pressure.

ANTIOXIDANTS

Antioxidants help reduce blood pressure as well as helping to prevent blood fats from depositing in your blood vessels. A healthy, well balanced eating plan will include foods rich in natural antioxidants (especially beta-carotene and vitamins C and E), found chiefly in fresh fruits and vegetables. Try to have five pieces of fruit or helpings of vegetables every day Don’t forget that there are also antioxidants in red wine One or two glasses a day can be beneficial unless there is another reason why you are unable to take red wine. There is no need to take antioxidant supplements. Not only are they unnecessary, they can cause the balance of nutrients within your body to become unbalanced