Diet and Hypertension
Hypertension or High Blood Pressure, as it is commonly called, is a condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is chronically elevated. With each heart beat, heart pumps blood through the arteries to the body. Blood pressure is the pressure or force with which blood is pushed against the walls of the blood vessels. If the pressure is too high, the heart has to pump harder which in turn can damage the body organ and cause illnesses like stroke, heart attack, heart failure, or renal failure. Hypertension in India is emerging as a major health problem, that is more prevalent in urban than in rural India.
Normal blood pressure is below 120/80, where 120 represents systolic measure (highest pressure in arteries) and 80 represents diastolic measure (lowest pressure in arteries). A pressure of 140/90 and above is considered hypertension.
Hypertension can be due to many factors namely- 1. Sedentary lifestyle 2. Lack of physical activity 3. Obesity or overweight 4. High salt intake 5. High intake of processed food items like- chips, bakery products, cheese etc. 6. Stress 7. Aging 8. Excessive alcohol consumption 9. Genetics and family history of hypertension
However, hypertension can be easy to control if diagnosed at an early stage and with lifestyle modifications. Changes in diet and increase in physical activity levels can have a great impact on controlling high blood pressure
Reducing salt intake: Salt is known to be an important cause of hypertension. Therefore, a diet low in sodium, viz. recommended sodium intake- 1500mg, which is equivalent to 6gm salt or 1 leveled teaspoon of salt, is suitable for body and heart. DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet that recommends 1500mg sodium intake, along with high intake of fruits and vegetables is known to have beneficial effects in controlling blood pressure.
Though the market is flooded with processed foods, they are a complete NO