As per the World Health Organization, 1.13 billion people suffer from hypertension worldwide.
Hypertension is the most chronic condition worldwide and accounts for 1 in 8 deaths each year.
Our vessels are the medium through which blood is transformed from our hearts to all parts of our bodies.
High blood pressure happens as a result of our blood pushing against the walls of these vessels.
The more pressure there is the more the heart beats.
When our blood pressure is raised for too long, bad cholesterol starts accumulating on our artery walls, increasing the load on our hearts and hence decreasing its efficiency.
Hypertension could also lead to diabetes.
- High blood sugar
- Low level of good cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides
- Or simply, high blood pressure.
Normal readings are less than 120, upper number, and less than 80, lower number.
Reading between 130-139, upper, and 80-89, lower is considered stage 1 hypertension.
A reading of 140 or higher, upper and 90 or higher, lower, is stage 2 hypertension
A reading higher than 180, upper, and 120, lower, is considered a hypertension crisis and you need to consult your doctor immediately.
Although, hypertension is very common among adults, yet, hypertension is a silent killer.
As most of the time, its symptoms are not so obvious.
Yet, the good news is that simple changes to your diet and lifestyle could save your life.
Hypertension and Lifestyle
Among the worst enemies of high blood pressure are salt, stress, smoking, red meat, sugar and lack of exercising.
Through altering the intake of these factors, a lot could be improved.
Being inactive is very bad for your health.
In the 21st century sitting on a chair for so long is as harmful as eating junk food all the time.
Nevertheless, adopting an active mindset doesn’t happen overnight.
That is why it is very important to start with an easy to do a routine that doesn’t require much change to your day.
Five-minute cardio as you wake up or 20 minutes-walk around your neighborhood sounds like a good start.
The key, however, is in consistency.
It is very important to exercise regularly though, to reap the fruit of your effort.
A Good Healthy Diet
A hypertension friendly diet would include:
- Whole grains
- Low-fat dairy products
- Skinless poultry and fish
And would limit:
- Red meat
- Saturated Fats
To include all these do’s and don’ts in one plan, it is a good idea to follow the DASH plan.
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension plan is a plan designed specifically for patients with hypertension.
Ranked as the best overall diet by U.S. News and World Report for eight consecutive years, the DASH plan achieved high success.
DASH was developed by the National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute to treat high blood pressure patients.
However, its impact has gone beyond hypertension and into lowering blood cholesterol as well.
Researches show that people who followed a DASH diet were able to reduce their blood pressure by a few points over the course of two weeks.
By time, the upper number of blood pressure readings could drop by up to 14 points.
More than 400 adults with stage 1 hypertension have recorded improvement in their lowers systolic blood pressure.
DASH has also been proven to be very effective for people with hypertension at baseline, replacing anti-hypertension medications.
DASH diet simply focuses on fruits and vegetable intakes, as well as a low-fat dairy, lean proteins, and whole grains.
It reduces sodium intakes, red meat, sweets, and sugary beverages.
- 6-8 servings per day grains
- 4-5 servings per day, vegetables
- 4-5 servings per day, fruits
- 2-3 servings per day, low-fat dairy products
- 2-3 servings per day, fats and oil
- 3-5 servings per week, nuts, seed and legumes
- 6 or less servings per week, lean meat, poultry and fish
- 5 or less servings of sugar per week
- 2.3 grams of sodium per day
Food Rich in Potassium
Examples of food rich in potassium:
- Potatoes, it contains 738 mg
- Yogurt contains 530-570 mg
- Orange juice contains 496 mg
- Soybeans contain 443 mg
- Banana contains 422 mg
- Fish contains 200-400 mg
- Tomato sauce contains 405 mg
- Skimmed milk contains 382 mg
- Apricots contain 378 mg
- Almonds contain 310 mg
- A half cup of lentils contains 365 mg
- A half cup of kidney beans contains 360 mg
Mixing these together end up with a good delicious meal.
1- Tuna Salad
A low sodium tuna can, one boiled egg, 1 cup lettuce, quarter cup celery, cherry tomato, grated carrot, shredded red cabbage, and 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise.
Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy a nice healthy meal.
- Eggs, sweet corn, sliced pepper, sliced onions, tomatoes, dry basil, canola oil, and jack cheese.
- Mix 6 eggs with 1 tablespoon basil.
- Pour 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a frying pan.
- When the pan becomes hot, put quarter a cup sliced onions, 1 cup sliced pepper and 1 cup of sweet corn.
- Saute for a couple of minutes then add 1 cup of tomatoes, as the mix matures add the egg and basil.
- Garnish with 4 ounces of Jack cheese.
And Bon appetite.
3- Shrimp Salad
- 1/3 cup orange juice, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, one and a half tablespoon Dijon mustard, one and a half tablespoon honey, 1 pound shrimps, half teaspoon lemon-pepper, 1 cup tomato, half cup chopped red onion and 8 cups mixed greens.
- Whisk the orange juice, mustard, honey, vinegar
- In a large pan put oil and add corn until it cooks
- Season shrimps with lemon-pepper and then add the shrimp to the pan and cook for 4 minutes
- In a bowl add the rest of the ingredients together and top with shrimps
This serving is suitable for four people.
4- Sweet Oatmeal
- Oats, skimmed milk, low-fat yogurt, honey, fresh fruit, and walnuts.
- In a jar mix the oatmeal with milk, yogurt, and honey, then top them with fruits and walnuts and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
5- Stuffed Zucchini
- Zucchini, tomatoes, parsley, parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, pepper, mushroom
- Cut your zucchini into halves, scooping out its pulp.
- Heat the zucchini for 10-15 minutes until its crisp-tender.
- In a large pan cook the zucchini pulp with tomatoes, bread crumb, cheese, pepper, and mushrooms.
- Place them in the zucchini shells and then bake for another 10-15 minutes and garnish with cheese and parsley.
6- Sweet Potato Toast
- Sweet potato, spinach, egg, rosemary, olive oil, salt, and pepper,
- Slice the sweet potatoes into two halves and bake them for 5 minutes until its skin becomes a little bit crunchy.
- In a skillet drizzle some olive oil and put the spinach until it cooks.
- On top of the sweet potato, put the spinach, egg, rosemary and season with salt and pepper
- Bake again in the oven for 5 minutes and enjoy a delicious breakfast.
7- Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
- Low carb spaghetti squash, olive oil, broccoli, garlic, red pepper, cheddar cheese, salt, and black pepper.
- Cut the squash into halves and place them in the oven until it tenders.
- In a skillet, put some olive oil with garlic, broccoli, and red pepper, stir until it cooks.
- Get out the squash pulp and add it to the cooked mixture with cheese, salt, and pepper and place this all on the squash shell.
- With cheese on top of the mixture, place it back in the oven for another 3 minutes and enjoy a nice meal.
In a Nutshell
Eating healthy sometimes is more of a necessity than a luxury.
With 1.13 billion adult suffering hypertension and the National Institute of Heart, Blood, and Lungs developing an anti-hypertension diet, health is not a choice.
DASH diet is a diet developed by the National Institute and recognized by the U.S News and World Reports as an effective diet for many hypertension as well as cholesterol patients.
Focusing on fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grain, nuts, legumes, fish, lean meat and avoiding red meat, sodium, sugar, and sweet beverages is the essence of a DASH diet.
With a lot of varieties, the DASH diet comes in many recipes and dishes.
So, if you haven’t decided to watch over your health yet, not is about time.