While some people may require medication to keep their blood pressure under control, most of them can control it with diet, weight loss, correct intake of vitamin supplements and proper stress management.
Foods such as sugar, flour and refined oils, eating out frequently and irregularly, inactivity, stress, overeating, smoking, drinking and bad sleeping patterns lead to degenerative diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and asthma.
If you are overweight, begin a gradual weight loss programme. Your blood pressure will lower soon. If you are stressed out, set some of your time aside for yoga and meditation. In addition, have foods rich in the following.
Potassium: It lowers blood pressure and rids the body of excess water and salt. Low levels of potassium in the body lead to increased sodium retention, calcium loss, and high blood pressure. Freshly prepared vegetable juices are a good source of potassium, as are milk, dry fruits, potatoes, whole grains and pulses. However, those suffering from hypertension and kidney disease need to control their potassium intake.
Calcium: The calcium to phosphorus ratio has a bearing on blood pressure. A ratio of 2:1 is ideal. Higher amounts of phosphorous disrupt the ratio and lead to high blood pressure.
Magnesium: Fish, leafy vegetables, pulses and brown rice are good sources of magnesium. Most people need about 300-400 mg of magnesium daily to keep their blood pressure under control. Natural sources of magnesium include nuts, whole grains, wheat bran, and leafy vegetables.
Salt: Don’t go off salt completely. Also add the above minerals in your diet to see a significant reduction in blood pressure. Along with these minerals, follow a diet high in fibre and complex carbohydrates such as those found in whole grains, pulses, fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, lose weight, restrict alcohol intake, avoid sugar and stop smoking. Eat more fish as it contains Omega 3 fats, which are known to bring down blood pressure.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.