Food to fight hypertension

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Losing excess weight is the most effective way to lower your blood pressure.

Some studies have found that for every kilogram of weight lost, a drop of 2.5 mm Hg in systolic and 1.5 mm Hg in diastolic
blood pressure can be expected.A body mass index (BMI) of more than 25 is considered overweight.

Smart food choices 
The word “diet” signals deprivation to many people. But a healthy eating plan can be rewarding. Plus, it’s quite easy:

  • Pick low-fat, high-fibre food, including wholegrains and legumes.
  • Get plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to supply your body with other crucial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • Choose low-fat dairy products and experiment with lean meat, like ostrich.
  • Eat more fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, that contains Omega-3 oils. These protect the heart.

Skimp on salt 
Many people are highly sensitive to salt (sodium chloride), which leads to a rise in blood pressure. 

1. Limit your intake to 6g (one teaspoon) of sodium chloride per day.
2. Add less salt during cooking and hide away the salt shaker.  
3. Avoid processed food, which is generally packed with sodium. 

Salt is also bad news for your kidneys; one of the target organs that can be damaged by hypertension and vascular disease.

Pack on the potassium 
Potassium replaces and eliminates excess sodium in the body. This, in turn, reduces blood pressure in salt-sensitive people. Potassium can be found in potatoes, nuts, bananas and other fruit.

Alcohol 
Regular drinking, especially heavy drinking, can raise your blood pressure. Men with high blood pressure should limit their
intake to no more than two drinks per day, while women should drink no more than one drink a day.

Coffee 
Although still much debated, coffee produces a temporary increase in heart rate and blood pressure; also in people
who don’t suffer from high blood pressure. 

If you have hypertension, stick to no more than one cup of coffee a day.

Bad fats 
High cholesterol, especially the “bad fats” like LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, cause damage to the lining of the arteries.
These fatty deposits, called plaques, partially obstruct and reduce flow through the blood vessels. High HDL cholesterol, however,
seems to play a protective role. Diet and lifestyle changes are very important, and sometimes lipid-lowering drugs are necessary.
Try to reduce your intake of animal fats (e.g. butter and red meat), and eat more fatty fish and healthy plant
fats (e.g. avocado and canola oil).

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