Tag Archives: hypertension
October 3, 2017

Posting my article which appeared in The Times of India, Bangalore edition on Sep 27, 2017 –


One of the ways to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases is by eating healthily.

While non-modifiable risk factors like age, gender, race and heredity, play an important role in determining whether or not a person will fall into the trap, modifiable risk factors like excess weight, abdominal obesity, high LDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, diabetes, sloth, stress and smoking also contribute to this killer disease.

The foods you choose could play a significant role in protecting against heart disease or predisposing you to the problem.  Let’s look at some of the foods that can either help you or harm you –

  • Fruits and vegetables. Fibre, antioxidants and micronutrients present in these foods have an immensely beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system.
  • Fats & Oils. In excess, they contribute to overweight and abdominal obesity (large waistline), which become risk factors for heart disease.  Trans fats in particular, have been associated with a much higher risk for heart disease.  Omega 3 fats and monounsaturated fats have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Animal foods were earlier considered to be enemies for heart health. But recent research shows that not all animal foods are bad.  Red meats and processed meats are shown to increase the risk much more than white meats, eggs and dairy.
  • Foods that are high in added sodium (salt, MSG, baking soda) increase the chances of high blood pressure, more so in salt-sensitive persons.
  • Refined sugar, sweets, desserts, sugary beverages contribute to excess weight and high triglycerides, both of which are risk factors for heart disease.

Bottom line is to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, millets.  Include some nuts, seeds and dairy in the daily diet.  If you are a non-vegetarian, take eggs or fish 2 to 3 times a week.  Drink adequate fluids, keep yourself physically active, avoid tobacco in all forms, de-stress, and consult your physician if you are at risk.  Maintain your weight and waistline within normal levels.  Do consult a qualified dietitian for a personal diet plan and maintain your heart health!

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April 7, 2013

Today is World Health Day, and this year’s theme is High Blood Pressure.  High blood pressure also known as hypertension increases the risks of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.  However, hypertension is preventable and treatable.

On the occasion of this year’s World Health Day, The Times of India, Bangalore, carried my article yesterday (April 06, 2013) in their wellness section.  I’ve published the same article here for the blog readers –

Diet Helps Maintain Normal Blood Pressure

It’s a given that high blood pressure and diet are linked.  What and how much you eat can increase the risk of high blood pressure, and at the same time can also help to control your blood pressure.

Increased intake of sodium, calories, saturated fat and alcohol, along with other factors like heredity, smoking, stress and sedentary lifestyle accelerate your risk of high blood pressure.

Dietary changes to control your blood pressure

  • Reduce salt and sodium foods in the daily diet.  5 to 6 g of salt intake per day is adequate for an adult.  Ensure that you do not cross this limit.
  • When you buy processed foods, read labels.  Avoid / restrict anything that carries ‘sodium’ or ‘salt’ as an ingredient.  There’s plenty of hidden salt in ready-to-eat foods.  Restrict their use.
  • Eat more potassium rich foods like fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce / avoid caffeinated beverages.
  • Drink coconut water regularly.
  • Avoid / restrict saturated fats.
  • Restrict the intake of sweets and fried foods, to keep your weight within the normal range.
  • Increase the intake of fiber-rich foods – vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains.
  • DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) developed in the US has proved that what you eat can help a great deal in controlling blood pressure.  DASH suggests a maximum intake of 2300 mg of sodium per day (akin to 6 g of salt per day), using monounsaturated fats, choosing whole grains over refined varieties, eating nuts daily, consuming fresh fruits and vegetables every day, among other things.

Steps to prevent or control blood pressure 

  1. Maintain your body weight within normal limits
  2. Restrict / reduce your daily sodium intake
  3. Limit alcohol consumption, if at all you drink
  4. Avoid / restrict intake of saturated fats
  5. Avoid active and passive smoking
  6. Learn to cope with stress
  7. Get adequate rest and relaxation
  8. Remain physically active, unless you’re ill
  9. Make time for sleep by limiting screen time in front of the television or computer
  10. Undergo a health check regularly, especially if you have a family history of high blood pressure
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