Foods that lower blood pressure – Lower your blood pressure with these 12 amazing Nigerian food diet for high blood pressure patients.
High blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. Arteries are vessels that carry blood from the pumping heart to all the tissues and organs of the body.
High blood pressure does not mean excessive emotional tension, although emotional tension and stress can temporarily increase blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80; blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is called “pre-hypertension”, and a blood pressure of 140/90 or above is considered high.
The top number, the systolic blood pressure, corresponds to the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts and pumps blood forward into the arteries. The bottom number, the diastolic pressure, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes after the contraction. The diastolic pressure reflects the lowest pressure to which the arteries are exposed.
An elevation of the systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure increases the risk of developing heart (cardiac) disease, kidney (renal) disease, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis), eye damage, and stroke (brain damage). These complications of hypertension are often referred to as end-organ damage because damage to these organs is the end result of chronic (long duration) high blood pressure. For that reason, the diagnosis of high blood pressure is important so efforts can be made to normalize blood pressure and prevent complications.
It was previously thought that rises in diastolic blood pressure were a more important risk factor than systolic elevations, but it is now known that in people 50 years or older, systolic hypertension represents a greater risk.
Hypertension is a major public health problem.
Symptoms of high blood pressure
Mild to moderate essential hypertension is usually asymptomatic.
Accelerated hypertension is associated with a headache, drowsiness, confusion, vision disorders, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms are collectively called hypertensive encephalopathy. Hypertensive encephalopathy is caused by severe small blood vessel congestion and brain swelling, which is reversible if blood pressure is lowered.
Some additional signs and symptoms suggest that the hypertension is caused by disorders in hormone regulation. Hypertension combined with obesity distributed on the think of the body, accumulated fat on the back of the neck (“buffalo hump”), wide purple marks on the abdomen (abdominal striae), or the recent onset of diabetes suggests that an individual has a hormone disorder known as Cushing’s syndrome.
Hypertension caused by other hormone disorders such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, or growth hormone excess will be accompanied by additional symptoms specific to these disorders. For example, hyperthyroidism can cause weight loss, tremors, heart rate abnormalities, reddening of the palms, and increased sweating.
Signs and symptoms associated with growth hormone excess include coarsening of facial features, protrusion of the lower jaw, enlargement of the tongue, excessive hair growth, darkening of the skin colour, and excessive sweating.
Other hormone disorders like hyperaldosteronism may cause less specific symptoms such as numbness, excessive urination, excessive sweating, electrolyte imbalances and dehydration, and elevated blood alkalinity and also cause mental pressure.
Hypertension in pregnant women is one symptom of pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia can progress to a life-threatening condition called eclampsia, which is the development of protein in the urine, generalized sweating, and severe seizures. Other symptoms indicating that brain function is becoming impaired may precede these seizures such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, and vision loss.
In addition, the systemic vascular resistance and blood pressure decrease during pregnancy. The body must compensate by increasing cardiac output and blood volume to provide sufficient circulation in the uteroplacental arterial bed.
Some signs and symptoms are especially important in newborns and infants such as failure to thrive, seizures, irritability, lack of energy, and difficulty breathing. In children, hypertension can cause a headache, fatigue, blurred vision, nose bleeds, and facial paralysis.
Even with the above clinical symptoms, the true incidence of pediatric hypertension is not known. In adults, hypertension has been defined due to the adverse effects caused by hypertension. However, in children, similar studies have not been performed thoroughly to link any adverse effects with the increase in blood pressure. Therefore, the prevalence of pediatric hypertension remains unknown due to the lack of scientific knowledge.
Causes of high blood pressure
Two forms of high blood pressure have been described; essential (or primary) and secondary hypertension. Essential hypertension is a far more common condition and accounts for 95% of hypertension.
The cause of essential hypertension is multifactorial, that is, there are several factors whose combined effects produce hypertension. In secondary hypertension, which accounts for 5% of hypertension, the high blood pressure is secondary to (caused by) a specific abnormality in one of the organs and systems of the body.
Essential hypertension affects approximately 72million Americans, yet its basic causes or underlying defects are not always known. Nevertheless, certain associations have been recognized in people with essential hypertension. For example, essential hypertension develops only in groups or societies that have a fairly high intake of salt, exceeding 5.8grams daily.
Salt intake may be a particularly important factor in relation to essential hypertension in several situations, and excess salt may be involved in hypertension that is associated with advancing age, African American background, obesity, hereditary (genetic), susceptibility, and kidney failure (renal insufficiency).
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academics recommends healthy 19 to 50-year-old adults consume only 3.8grams of salt to replace the average amount lost daily through perspiration and to achieve a diet that provides sufficient amounts of other essential nutrients.
Genetic factors are thought to play a prominent role in the development of essential hypertension. However, the genes for hypertension have not yet been identified. Genes are tiny portions of chromosomes that produce the proteins that determine the characteristics of individuals. The current research in this area is focused on the genetic factors that affect the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. This system helps to regulate blood pressure by controlling salt balance and the tone (state of elasticity) of the arteries.
Approximately 30% of cases of essential hypertension are attributable to genetic factors. For example, in the United States, the incidence of high blood pressure is greater among African American than among Caucasians or Asians. Also, in individuals who have one or two parents with hypertension, high blood pressure is twice as common as in the general population.
Rarely, certain unusual genetic disorders affecting the hormones of the adrenal glands may lead to hypertension. These identified genetic disorders are considered secondary hypertension.
Foods that lower blood pressure
Foods to eat include:
- Leafy greens
- Red Beets
- Skim milk and yoghurt
- Salmon, mackerel, and fish with omega-3 fats
- Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, or squash seeds)
- Garlic and herbs
- Dark chocolate
- Olive oil
Foods to avoid include:
- Salt (sodium)
- Canned foods
- Processed foods
- Fast foods
- Lunch meats
- Excess sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Carbonated drinks
Foods that lower blood pressure
The DASH diet
Dietary recommendations for lowering blood pressure, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, include reducing your intake of sodium, fat, and alcohol.
The DASH diet is an eating plan rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, legumes, and low-fat dairy. These foods are high in key nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, fibre, and protein.
The DASH diet can lower blood pressure because it has less salt and sugar than the typical American diet. The DASH diet cuts out desserts, sweetened beverages, fats, red meat, processed meats, and fast foods.
To start the DASH diet, follow these recommendations (based on 2,000 calories a day)
- Whole grains: 7-8 daily servings (1 slice of bread, ½ cup cooked rice or pasta, 1-ounce dry cereal)
- Vegetables: 4-5 daily servings (1 cup raw leafy greens, ½ cup cooked vegetables)
- Fruits: 4-5 daily servings (1 medium fruit, ½ cup fresh or frozen fruit, ¼ cup dried fruit, 6 ounces fruit juice)
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy products: 2-3 daily servings (8 ounces milk, 1 cup yoghurt, 1.5 ounces cheese)
- Lean meat, poultry, and fish: 2 or fewer servings a day (3 ounces cooked meat, poultry, or fish)
- Nuts, seeds, and legumes: 4-5 servings per week (2 tablespoon seeds, 1/3 cup nuts, ½ cup cooked dry beans or peas)
- Fats and oils: 2-3 daily servings (1 teaspoon vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon low-fat mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons light salad dressing)
- Sweets: Less than 5 servings per week (1 tablespoon sugar, jelly, or jam)
Ask your doctor or a dietitian to help you start the DASH diet. They can tell you how many calories you need each day to maintain or get to a healthy weight. And they can help you plan meals with foods you enjoy that meet the DASH diet.
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Ways to control high blood pressure without medications
- Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline: Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (102 centimetres). Women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (89 centimetres).
- Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity – such as 150 minutes a week, or about 30 minutes most days of the week, can lower your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and skimp on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg.
- Reduce sodium in your diet: Even a small reduction of the sodium in your diet can improve your heart health and reduce blood pressure by about 5 to 6 mm Hg
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink: Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. By drinking alcohol in moderation, you can potentially lower your blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg.
- Quit smoking: Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Stopping smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal.
- Reduce your stress: Chronic stress may contribute to high blood pressure. Occasional stress also can contribute to high blood pressure if you react to stress by eating unhealthy food, alcohol, or smoking.
- Monitor your blood pressure at home and see your doctor regularly.
- Get support, either from family and friends, or consider joining a support group.
While these foods that lower blood pressure helps you stay healthy, you can also see your doctor or health-care provider for more advise.