Wellness special: Make these lifestyle changes and say goodbye to high BP forever
High blood pressure, as we all know, is called as a silent killer. It’s common nowadays for people to say that I just have high BP, it’s like saying I’ve got the flu, a cough, or cold — which means they have accepted it.Very few people have hypertension due to bad genetics or kidney problems. For others, it is purely due to a poor lifestyle and now its the time to understand the seriousness of this disease and focus on changing a bad lifestyle.
Having medicine for a lifetime to treat high BP is not a cure. It is merely suppressing it and the symptoms. This doesn’t mean you have to stop the medicine, but at the same time, make lifestyle changes to work on the root cause of the disease. Erectile dysfunction, stroke, heart attacks, dementia, kidney problems are all related to hypertension if not treated well long term. You can’t treat your body as any other machine or the same as a car. For instance, if in a car, there was an engine issue, the mechanic would look only at the engine. But our body doesn’t follow that routine, each and every organ in our body is interconnected and that’s how it works. If you have a high BP your heart, blood vessels, cells, kidneys, etc are affected by the same. So we can’t really just look at the symptom and have medicine for rest of one’s life. Instead, look at the root cause and try to fix it accordingly.People who are willing to change their lifestyles and work towards this gradually, have slowly weaned off medications.
Let’s look at a few foods which control hypertension:
• Dietary fibre found whole grains, pulses, legumes, whole fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds provide overall health benefits such as controlling lipid profile, helping to maintain a healthy weight, lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease and other issues. With all these benefits, they also help in keeping heart health in check by controlling BP and reducing inflammation.
• Garlic is powerful for reducing BP it is a blood thinner, great for immunity and skin. Garlic can be consumed raw to get it benefits. You can chop the garlic in small little bits sprinkle it over your food or even keep it exposed in oxygen for a minute because Allicinis, the compound that does magic in garlic, needs to be activated by keeping it exposed to oxygen. Then you can have it raw to get multiple benefits, from controlling BP to cholesterol to even increasing immunity.
• Amla, or the Indian goose berry, is another powerful food, which has a great impact on our body. Just mixing half a teaspoon of amla powder with water and 1 tsp of raw unpasteurised honey can provide a good amount of vitamin C to the body and there will be good blood circulation. With hypertension circulation of blood is compromised in the body. Every cell require blood circulation with the right pressure and amla helps you achieve the same. Fresh amla is in season, or you can even use dry amla which is equally good. You can have the drink on an empty stomach first in the morning or 45 minutes after breakfast, lunch or dinner minus the honey and only amla powder with water.
• Green tea is extremely beneficial as it contains polyphenols which have a positive impact on blood pressure. Having one to two cups of green tea, preferably an hour after meals is good to add the antioxidants dose and control the oxidative stress.
• Watermelon in the right season is good for hypertension. It contains citrulline that helps our body to produce nitric oxide naturally. Nitric oxide is a gas which relaxes the blood vessels and makes the arteries flexible, which in turn control BP.
• Onion is rich in flavanols and Quercetin helps in dilating your blood vessels and reduces blood pressure.
• Anything rich in VIT C is beneficial as it improves circulation — be it the lemon water, kokam juice, amla etc.
• Beetroot is a good source of nitric oxide which helps in relaxation and dilation of blood vessels, which in turn controls BP naturally.
• Lifestyle changes like deep breathing can help reduce hypertension by providing you with more oxygen and relaxing the blood vessels. Two minutes of a slow inhale and two minutes of a slow exhale helps reduce pressure. The more you exercise, the more your body will benefit. Quality sleep is important to relax the mind and body for having good control over blood pressure.
(The writer is a clinical nutritionist with a focus on healthy lifestyle choices)