Hypertension is the same as high blood pressure, a condition where the arterial walls have a consistently raised blood pressure. Arteries deliver blood away from heart. There are numerous factors that can affect blood pressure. Some of these include: amount of water and salt in the body, kidney, nervous system or blood vessel conditions, and different body hormones level. Oftentimes, the cause of high blood pressure is undetermined. This is called essential hypertension. On the other hand, when high blood pressure is due to a predisposing medical condition, this is called secondary hypertension. Secondary hypertension may be due to diseases such as chronic kidney disease, hyperparathyroidism, adrenal gland disorders, conditions including pregnancy and medications, such as diet pills, birth control pills, cold medications and migrate medications
Certain people are at greater risks for developing hypertension. The following risk factors make a person more susceptible to suffering hypertension: age (as one ages, the blood vessels become more stiff), obesity, too much salt in the diet, too much alcohol intake, nicotine use, frequent stress or anxiousness, diabetes, African American race, and family history of hypertension.
Given the aforementioned risk factors for hypertension, the only thing a person at risk for hypertension can control is his diet and other lifestyle factors. When it comes to diet, it is necessary to avoid foods that are high in salt. As previously mentioned, sodium is known to increase blood pressure. On the contrary, it is highly encouraged to start a diet that is high in potassium, as it is effective in removing the excess sodium in the body, while a magnesium-rich diet plays a vital role in promoting healthy blood flow. A list below shows foods to lower blood pressure advice:
- Pork tenderloin is a healthy meat choice as just three ounces contains 6% magnesium and 15% potassium that are required in the daily diet. In addition to this, it is not high in saturated fat that is usually associated in beef and pork.
- Available year-round in fish stores and the grocery, just four ounces of tilapia gives off 8% magnesium and 8% potassium required in the daily diet. It can be prepared in different ways: roasting, baking and sautéing, and can be flavored with different seasonings. Moreover, tilapia is very low in environmental toxins.
- A medium-sized banana is rich in potassium (12%), but it also contains magnesium (8%) and calcium (1%). On the other hand, a medium-sized peach or nectarine contains 8% potassium, 3% magnesium and 1% calcium of the total amount needed in daily diet. Both fruits can be eaten as a snack or drank as a smoothie.
- A single kiwi fruit contains 9% potassium, 7% magnesium and 2% required in the daily diet. It is usually available year-round in groceries. Additionally, ripe kiwis provide more vitamin C than orange slices of the same serving size.
- Fat free plain yogurt is rich in calcium and also contains a good amount of potassium and magnesium. It can often be used in breakfasts, sauces, dressings and even entrees.
Hypertensive or pre-hypertensive patients should keep a food diary to keep track of the sodium intake in their diet. Watching one’s diet is one of the single most effective ways to keep hypertension monitored.