Hypertension: What you need to know as you age
Don't blame just your genes (though they have a say too) as our wrong lifestyle is often a bigger reason why our blood pressure spirals out of control, and why hypertension has become an epidemic. Make these changes ASAP and understand how to control blood pressure as you age.
Keep the salt intake in check
This doesn’t mean you need to go on a salt free diet, because that could in fact be detrimental to your health. The idea is to just keep the salt intake in check. Limit your sodium intake to under 2g (about 5 gm salt or roughly 1 tsp of salt). Basically 5 grams of salt has 2 grams of sodium, so stick to 5 grams of salt /1 tsp a day.
Do this: Switch to iodised Tata Salt Lite that has 15% less sodium content.
It’s not just excess salt that could be at fault, we now know that too much sugar is as much a devil too. Actually, high blood pressure and insulin resistance tend to go hand-in-hand, so it is worth keeping that in check and controlling the sugar intake to nip high BP in the bud.
Do this: Keep your sugar intake to less than 10% of your total calorie intake per day.
Don't just cut salt, boost potassium too. It's the balance that matters. Enough potassium in the diet neutralises the effect of excess sodium and thus helps you know how to control blood pressure levels. Good sources of potassium include banana, coconut water, potato, sweet potato, spinach, lentils, kidney beans and watermelon.
Do this: Increase the amount of vegetables and fruits you eat
Do this: Eat at least 2 servings of potassium rich lentils every day. Make sure you source unpolished dals to get the benefit.
There is something called stress-related hypertension as stress has a direct connect with high BP. Our body produces a surge of hormones when we are in a stressful situation, which temporarily increase our blood pressure by causing the heart to beat faster and the blood vessels to narrow. Plus the common behaviours linked to stress — overeating, drinking alcohol and poor sleeping habits — all spike up the blood pressure too. And these short-term stress-related spikes in the blood pressure added up over time can increase the risk of developing long-term high blood pressure.
Do this: Have haldi doodh at bed time. A little bit of haldi every day can give your happiness a big boost. Just make sure you source haldi that has 3% curcumin in it and use turmeric that has its natural oils intact to score the benefits.
Do this: Eat chickpeas 2-3 times a week. They are loaded with happy vitamins - the B vitamins - vitamin B1, or thiamine that promotes brain and nervous system health, and folate (B9) and B6, pyridoxin, which helps regulate our mood by helping the body make the happiness hormones serotonin and norepinephrine. Make sure to source unpolished chickpeas.
Hypertension is best prevented, and can actually be done with a few careful changes in our lifestyle and eating habits. It’s worth the effort to stay safe.
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