By Davinder Marjara
Oakville, November 6 (CINEWS): Commonly referred to as a ‘silent killer’, high blood pressure or hypertension is a leading cause of death globally.
This is largely due to unawareness regarding early detection and cure. Sixteen per cent of people above 20 years of age suffer from high blood pressure. However, a single high reading does not necessarily imply that you have hypertension. Moreover, even if you were informed recently that you have the condition; there is absolutely no reason to panic. All you need are some basic lifestyle tips and a well-planned exercise routine and you will be as fit as a fiddle.
What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure or hypertension is a medical condition when the difference between the maximum (systolic) and minimum (diastolic) pressures exerted by the circulating blood on your blood vessels increases the desirable value (above 90-119 systolic and 60-79 diastolic).
Prime risk factors
Some of the major factors that increase your risk of developing the condition are:
1. Age: Increased levels of blood pressure are closely associated with age and the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle gradually build up.
2. Ethnicity Generally: It is observed that people belonging to the African-Caribbean and South-Asian communities have increased probability of developing hypertension.
3. Family history: Having a family history of high blood pressure places you at a greater risk of developing the condition.
4. Lifestyle Issues It is a well-known fact that your lifestyle can affect your risk of developing it. Major lifestyle flaws include high intake Of Alcohol Excessive smoking, too much salt and not eating sufficient fruits and vegetables.
Ways to keep your blood pressure in check
• Restrict salt: One of the effective ways to control hypertension is to restrict salt or to be more specific about sodium intake
• Restrict alcohol: Practice moderation if you drink alcohol – Quitting smoking.
• Aerobic training: This form of training can have a major influence on your blood pressure levels. This can include anything from walking, running and hiking to biking and even swimming. On an average, target at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity for most days of the week. In case, you are unable to manage this time set, you can also opt for shorter bursts of activity as they count too.
• Yoga and meditation: In order to prevent this condition, yoga postures and meditation techniques should also be incorporated in your daily routine. The prime effect of these fitness programs is that they help combat stress and saturate the mind with tranquility.
• Deep-breathing exercises: According to a recent research published in the American Journal of Hypertension, a person can regulate his blood pressure level by ‘harnessing’ the body’s own natural pressure regulator. Breathing techniques are easy and effective ways to curb elevated levels of blood pressure. Regular and right breathing techniques can help you maintain normal blood pressure. Pranayama (yogic breathing) is the best to regulate blood pressure.
• Drink coconut water: This mild tropical drink can lower blood pressure as much as 12 points for 71 per cent of people. Coconut water is packed with 1,500 mg of potassium per 20-ounce serving. This mineral helps calm the entire central nervous system, preventing artery-damaging blood pressure surges when life gets hectic.
• Season with sesame oil: The oil’s healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids and unique sesame compound work together to relax blood vessel walls, preventing pressure spikes. Cook your meals in sesame oil or sprinkle them on rice or salad.
• Cook with cardamom: When people suffering from hypertension add 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom to their daily diets, it helps normalise their blood pressure in as little as 12 weeks. Cardamom is a slightly citrusy flavoured spice, which is packed with plant compounds that keep the muscles of your heart and arteries relaxed, so pressure surges are less likely to occur.
• Drink tea generously: Despite all the fuss around green tea, black tea is far more beneficial, says a recent study. They are, after all, made from the leaves of the same plant and contain the same artery-relaxing antioxidants, which are essential. For optimum results, dunk the tea bag up and down a few times instead of just letting it quietly steep. Sip 36 ounces of tea daily (three big mugs), and you’ll slash your risk of hypertension by 65 per cent.
• See more green: Looking at a scenic tranquil picture can lower your blood pressure as much as nine per cent. Looking at nature increases your brain’s production of soothing alpha waves that calm your central nervous system and clamp down the production of the pressure raising stress hormone cortisol. Hanging a beautiful nature photo in your room or opening the blinds — if you’re lucky enough to have a soothing view — also work.
• Sit straight: There are nerves in your neck that send calming messages to your brain and slouching squishes the vertebrae and discs in your neck, pinching those delicate nerves and hindering their function. When you slouch and sit, it ups your blood pressure by as much as 16 per cent.
• Stock up on potatoes: According to another research, savouring a potato every day (as long as you eat it mashed, boiled or baked — not fried) helps 81 per cent of people get their blood pressure under control (and with just half their usual prescription meds). Potatoes are packed with potassium, chromogenic acid and tryptophan, and these compounds work hand in-hand to relax and open the blood vessels that nourish your heart. For top-notch blood pressure control, eat the skin. That is where most of the potato’s nutrients are stored.
Reviewed and compiled from:
American Heart Association, Mayo Clinic, Blood Pressure Association