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World Health Day 2013 – Focus on High Blood Pressure
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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