Blood pressure is simply defined as the pressure of blood against the walls of the arteries. There are two components in blood pressure - systolic BP and diastolic BP. The systolic BP is the top number and it represents the pressure the heart generates when it pumps blood to the body, while diastolic BP is the lower number, which represents the pressure in blood vessels between heartbeats. High blood pressure is a condition when both the systolic and diastolic BP is raised above acceptable limits and high blood pressure is called hypertension. What makes high blood pressure so dangerous is that it usually has no discernible symptoms. However, the condition is treatable with the help of medication, exercise and a healthy diet that is low in sodium and fat. There are certain foods and drinks that may help in managing the condition and regulating blood pressure by complimenting the medication
Benefits Of Whole Grains In Hypertension
Typically, a low sodium diet is recommended for people suffering from hypertension. People with high blood pressure are also advised to switch from refined flours to whole grain flours, as well as include more fruits and vegetables in the diet. Whole grains may actually work wonders when included in a high blood pressure diet. A 2010 study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, said that following a diet rich in whole grains is as effective as anti-hypertensive medication, as these may reduce blood pressure and in extension, reduce the risk of heart diseases, stroke, heart failure etc.
Here are some whole-grain flours that can be included in the hypertension diet:
1. Whole Wheat Flour
One of the most commonly used flours in India is the whole wheat flour, which is supplied by a number of chakkis. Wheat is ground in fresh and used to prepare rotis and chapatis - whole wheat flatbreads are eaten with vegetarian and non-vegetarian curries. Whole wheat flour contains good amounts of fibre and proteins.
2. Whole Oats Flour
Whole oats can be turned into flour that can be used to prepare a number of dishes- both sweet and savoury. Rolled oats are one of the best varieties of whole-grain oats that you can lay your hands on. All you have to do then is to blitz the oats in a grinder to a fine powder-like consistency and use it instead of refined flour for making breads, pancakes, etc.
3. Buckwheat Flour
Buckwheat is another whole grain that is extremely rich in dietary fibre and proteins. It is also gluten-free and can be consumed by those who have an allergy. The flour can be used to prepare anything, from noodles to breads and snacks like chips and crisps.
4. Barley Flour
Barley, or jau, was one of the first cultivated grains on Earth and this ancient grain has made a comeback. Barley belongs to the grass family, but is widely cultivated as a food grain that is a healthy alternative to refined grains. A 100-gram serving of hulled barley contains a whopping 17 grams of dietary fibre and 12 grams of proteins (as per data by the USDA).
Some people have been known to have allergic reactions to some specific flours. Although these allergic symptoms may rarely show up (if ever), it is better to ensure that these grains are safe for you to eat, before including them in your diet.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition that occurs when the force of your blood against your artery wall is too high. High BP is one of the most rampant causes of concern in the world right now. If preventive steps are not taken in time, raised blood pressure could also lead to stroke or heart attack. High blood pressure patients must take their prescribed medicines on time. Your diet is also very closely interlinked with your heart health; therefore, you must be extra cautious about what you eat as well. If your blood pressure levels are consistently high, you must do away with highly salty and fried foods. They tend to make your blood vessels thick and restrict blood flow. You should instead have plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in fibre. They help boost your heart health. There are many nuts and seeds that have anti-hypertensive properties too. Flaxseeds, for instance, could do wonders for your blood pressure levels. You can have them ground or include them in your smoothies or oatmeal. You can even use the seeds to brew yourself some hot tea.
Flaxseeds are a rich source of potassium. Hundred grams of flaxseeds contain about 813 mg of potassium, as per the USDA nutrition data. Potassium helps negate the ill-effects of sodium. It helps expel extra sodium in your system by making you urinate. As per a study, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, eating flaxseeds along with a healthy diet helped bring down both systolic and diastolic pressure in participants. Additionally, flaxseeds are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help amp up heart health by regulating the cholesterol level. Flaxseeds happen to be an excellent source of fibre as well. Fibre helps protect the layer of cells lining the blood vessels, which helps facilitate blood flow.
High Blood Pressure Management: Here's How You Can Make Flaxseed Tea:
• 1 Teaspoon Ground flaxseeds
• 1 Cup of Water
• ½ teaspoon Honey
How To Make Flaxseed Tea
1. Steep a teaspoon of ground flaxseeds in a pot of boiling water.
2. Let it steep for 4-5 minutes.
3. Turn down the heat and pour the tea in a glass.
4. Add the honey and give your tea a nice stir. Consume it warm.
Cardamom, or elaichi, is used in a lot of festive preparations, which is why the health benefits of this extremely flavourful and aromatic spice are not very well known. While cardamom may not be appreciated when one accidentally encounters it in a spoonful of delicious biryani, it is enjoyed in a whole range of desi dishes, including sensational desserts and savouries. Cardamom is used in both whole and powdered form and is also included in a number of spice mixes. It has a minty, spicy herb-like flavour and smell, and a warm taste, which is why it is also consumed as a mouth-freshener. It also serves as a good addition to your masala chai concoction, adding a calming aroma to the drink that is the quintessential Indian refresher. But cardamom has a number of health benefits as well, among which regulation of blood pressure is perhaps the most important one.
Cardamom For High Blood Pressure
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition wherein the blood pressure in a person's arteries is persistently in an elevated condition. Usually, hypertension or high blood pressure is defined by a blood pressure exceeding 140/90. It is considered severe when it shoots above 180/120. What makes hypertension so dangerous is that it can often have no discernible symptoms, but if it is left untreated for a long period of time, it can cause a number of potentially fatal health complications, including heart diseases and even stroke. We have a number of spices and herbs that may help alleviate or regulate hypertension, when consumed as a part of a healthy diet, along with some amount of physical activity.
Cardamom, or elaichi, is one such spice, which is probably under-appreciated for its role in keeping blood pressure levels under check. There has been some research into the effects of cardamom consumption on the blood pressure levels of hypertension patients. One particular study, published in the Indian Journal Of Biochemistry and Biophysics, found that daily consumption of elaichi in a dose of 1.5 gms twice in a day, lead to a decrease in the systolic, diastolic and mean blood pressure in Stage-1 hypertensive patients, who were observed for a period of three months.
The study also said that although there was no sudden decrease in blood pressure levels in patients, a gradual decrease was observed and at the end of three months, the patients were able to reach achieve blood pressure levels that were normal or were below 140/90. The study concluded that long-term consumption of cardamom can have merits for patients of hypertension or people suffering from elevated blood pressure levels. The study pointed towards therapeutic and antioxidant capabilities of cardamom as being responsible for lowering blood pressure levels in hypertension patients.
How To Use Cardamom To Keep Blood Pressure Under Control
Cardamom, or elaichi, may be added to your breakfast bowl or oats or any other healthy breakfast cereal. Just a pinch of cardamom can add both flavour and boost health factor of your breakfast cereal bowl. You may also add it to a number of hot beverages, including black tea, green tea or just add a pinch of it to warm water and sip on it, to reap its benefits. You may sprinkle some fresh cardamom powder on warm salads or in dals and curries.
Additionally, Cardamom is known to increase the blood circulation in your body and especially to your lungs and so, is often used as a natural remedy for respiratory disorders. It maintains vitality and keeps your energy levels up.
A blood pressure test is a simple way of checking if your blood pressure is too high or too low.Blood pressure is the term used to describe the strength with which your blood pushes on the sides of your arteries as it's pumped around your body. High blood pressure (hypertension) can put a strain on your arteries and organs, which can increase your risk of developing serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Low blood pressure (hypo tension) isn't usually as serious, although it can cause dizziness and fainting in some people. A blood pressure test is the only way to find out if your blood pressure is too high or too low, because most people won't have any obvious symptoms. Having a test is easy and could save your life.
When should you get your blood pressure tested?
You can ask for a blood pressure test if you're worried about your blood pressure at any point. You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including your general physician clinic, some pharmacies, some workplace and at home. It's recommended that all adults over 40 years of age have their blood pressure tested at least every 5 years so any potential problems can be detected early. If you've already been diagnosed with high or low blood pressure, or you're at a particularly high risk of these problems, you may need to have more frequent tests to monitor your blood pressure.
How blood pressure is tested?
A device called a sphygmomanometer will be used to measure your blood pressure. This usually consists of a stethoscope, arm cuff, pump and dial, although automatic devices that use sensors and have a digital display are also commonly used nowadays. It's best to sit down with your back supported and legs uncrossed for the test. You'll usually need to roll up your sleeves or remove any long-sleeved clothing, so the cuff can be placed around your upper arm. Try to relax and avoid talking while the test is carried out.
What you should do during the test?
You hold out one of your arms so it's at the same level as your heart and the cuff is placed around it. Your arm should be supported in this position,such as with a cushion or arm of a chair. The cuff is pumped up to restrict the blood flow in your arm – this squeezing may feel a bit uncomfortable, but only lasts a few seconds. The pressure in the cuff is slowly released while a stethoscope is used to listen to your pulse (digital devices use sensors to detect vibrations in your arteries). The pressure in the cuff is recorded at 2 points as the blood flow starts to return to your arm – these measurements are used to give your blood pressure reading (see Understanding your blood pressure reading). You can usually find out your result straight away, either from the healthcare professional carrying out the test or on the digital display.
How Home blood pressure monitoring works?
Blood pressure tests can also be carried out at home using your own digital blood pressure monitor. This can give a better reflection of your blood pressure, as being tested in somewhere like a General Physician. It can also allow you to monitor your condition more easily in the long term. You can buy a variety of low-cost monitors so you can test your blood pressure at home or while you're out and about. It's important to make sure you use equipment that has been properly tested.
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
In some cases, your doctor may recommend 24-hour or ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM). This is where your blood pressure is tested automatically around every 30 minutes over a 24-hour period using a cuff attached to a portable device worn on your waist. ABPM can help to give a clear picture of how your blood pressure changes over the course of a day. You should continue with your normal daily activities during the test, although you must avoid getting the equipment wet.
Understanding your blood pressure reading
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and is given as 2 figures. Systolic pressure is measured when your heart pushes blood out. Diastolic pressure is measured when your heart rests between beats. For example, if your blood pressure is "140 over 90" or 140/90mmHg, it means you have a systolic pressure of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg. As a general guide, normal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher. Low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower. A blood pressure reading between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you're at risk of developing high blood pressure if you don't take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.
Controlling your blood pressure
If your blood pressure is found to be too high or too low, Your General Physician or the healthcare professional performing the test can advise you about ways to control it. This may involve adopting a healthy, balanced diet and restricting your salt intake, getting regular exercise, cutting down on alcohol, losing weight, stopping smoking, taking medication, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or calcium channel blockers.
Diuretics are substances that allow the body to get rid of excess water and sodium. They help in draining out the water by stimulating the kidneys and eliminate sodium from the urine thus, facilitating drainage of excess water. Diuretics are prescribed by the doctor when the body starts to retain excessive fluids.
The conditions that lead to problems such as:
1. High blood pressure: This is a disorder wherein the blood exerts more than the normal force (pressure) against the arterial walls while flowing through them.
2. Diabetes: It is a metabolic disorder wherein the blood sugar level rises significantly.
3. Kidney stones: Kidney stones refer to the formation of stones in the kidneys that can hamper the normal functioning of the kidney, leading to fluid retention in the body.
4. Edema: A disorder wherein parts of the body tend to swell due to inflammation is called ‘edema’.
5. Impaired functioning of the kidney: Impaired functioning of the kidneys makes it very difficult to flush out the excess sodium from the body thus, leading to fluid retention.
There are certain natural diuretics, which can come to your aid in times such as these. Read on to know more:
1. Parsley: Parsley, a very effective diuretic, is an herb that is commonly used for garnishing. It can also help in relieving bladder problems.
2. Black and green tea: Both green and black variants of the humble tea are very effective diuretics; you can enjoy them after a heavy meal to get rid of the bloating.
3. Hawthorn: A type of natural diuretic that is effective in reducing fluid accumulation and increasing urinary excretion. It also helps in treating problems of the kidney.
4. Juniper: A diuretic that has been used since ancient times. Juniper is very effective in removing excess salt and fluids from the body. The advantage of this plant is that it does not lower downs the level of potassium in the body, a side effect of other diuretics.