Desk jobs, no time to exercise, improper breathing due to high stress levels, eating salty snacks, large meals, drinking and smoking contribute to high blood pressure, even among young people. The World Health Organization reports that a third of the adult population worldwide has high blood pressure, while one in 10 are diabetic.
Tips to lower your blood pressure
Wheatgrass juice: This is proven to be an elixir for those suffering from hypertension as it is a rich source of magnesium and potassium, which lower blood pressure, and a deficiency can actually raise it. Once you start getting enough magnesium and potassium, you can actually cut down on your medication after consulting your doctor. Wheatgrass juice will cleanse and nourish your body and work wonders for your immune system.
Potassium: Potassium is important for the proper functioning of all the cells of the body. A high intake of sodium results in water retention. A low potassium intake and high sodium intake result in added pressure on the artery walls, leading to high blood pressure. Potassium helps normalise blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and helping the body get rid of excess water and salt. Major sources of potassium are banana, papaya, watermelon, musk melon, peach, potato, tomato, orange, spinach, soybean, almond and whole grains.
Skimmed milk: It is a good source of calcium and vitamin D, which help in lowering blood pressure. It is also rich in potassium, making it a good blood-pressure lowering food.
Vegetables: Vegetables are the best way to lower blood pressure. Celery contains a component, phthalide, which is a phytochemical that relaxes the muscle tissue of the arterial walls, which reduces blood pressure. Tomatoes are a good source of potassium and calcium, while cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are high in glutamic acid which lower blood pressure. Leafy vegetables are a good source of minerals, specially calcium and potassium, vitamins and fibre. They also have variety of phtyochemicals and antioxidants which help reduce plaque formation in blood vessels.
Coconut water: It is rich in electrolytes, including potassium. It has been shown to significantly lower blood pressure in those who drink it regularly.
Garlic: It acts as a vasodilator, by dilating blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. It contains adenosine, a compound which promotes vasodilation and is a muscle relaxant. Both raw and cooked garlic are beneficial, but raw garlic is more potent. Just three months of consuming two cloves of chopped raw garlic on an empty stomach will prove beneficial.
Yogurt: Just one cup of curd a day can reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure as it is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre