How a hypertension patient should feed

Today hypertension is one of the commonest chronic illnesses in our society. However it should be noted that proper life style and normal feeding routine can regulate it’s aggressiveness to an appreciable limit.
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha

Today hypertension is one of the commonest chronic illnesses in our society. However it should be noted that proper life style and normal feeding routine can regulate it’s aggressiveness to an appreciable limit.

Normal blood pressure is very important for the well being of an individual. Low blood pressure is nearly as dangerous as high blood pressure but it is the latter that afflicts people in far greater numbers

The condition of high blood pressure is also known as hypertension. Diet has been recognised as a key factor in combating hypertension. There is a varied opinion upon what food to eat for high blood pressure. Limiting salt and sodium intake is one thing a hypertension patient must always do. Three other minerals have been found to assist in controlling blood pressure. These are Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium.

Potassium and calcium play an important role in regulating high blood pressure. Foods like Bananas, beans and potatoes are all rich sources of potassium.

One must however avoid boiling potassium rich food, as potassium leaches out into the water during cooking. As for calcium, an average adult needs at least 1000 mg of calcium daily. This is why taking ripen banana is very much advisable and better for potassium than cooked matoke.

However herbal supplements may well be avoided, as they may increase blood pressure. Generally speaking, a diet that emphasises fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy products appears effective in taking points off a blood pressure monitor reducing your blood pressure measurements.

In particular, shedding off weight, cutting down on sodium, boosting potassium intake and limiting alcohol are all proven ways to lower your blood pressure. There fore it is advisable to take a balanced diet, get a blood pressure tester, keep an eye on your blood pressure readings, maintain blood pressure charts and exercise regularly. Precaution is the best blood pressure medication.

Also important to note is that fruits have been found to be good for high blood pressure control. Grape seed extracts have been found to control blood pressure.

We all want to stay fit throughout our lives but many a time the wish is not granted. And when one finds that one is suffering from high blood pressure, it could come as a shock because not many who are apparently healthy even think that they could be suffering from any disease at all.

High blood pressure is condition that can be a result of a number of factors. Smoking, high stress, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol consumption are few of them. Besides these factors, our daily diet plays a vital role not only in contributing to high blood pressure but also in effecting the overall health.

It is always advisable for the patient of high blood pressure to reduce the intake of foods rich in sodium and salt, as they are found to be a major contributing factor to high blood pressure. No doubt that with the reduction of the quantity of salt in your daily diet you can lower sodium content to some extent but the best way to avoid sodium is to have a diet of whole foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. In addition to the above, even with the lowering down of the consumption of canned and frozen foods you can limit the intake of sodium.

The quantity of water should be increased to eight glasses per day. This would make your diet healthy. Start having grilled lean meats rather than fried variety of foods. A reduction in the consumption of white flour and sugar also helps.

A patient with hypertension should always keep regular visits to the doctor because that would keep your condition well monitored. This would help you a great deal in keeping your high blood pressure within acceptable limits and below danger levels.

As already mentioned, it is a fact that there is no cure for high blood pressure, but one can still keep it under control with the help of proper diet, medication and exercise.

Also important to note is that hypertension has some genetic predisposition, this is why it is common in some families than others.

The author is a doctor at the Rwanda Military Hospital.

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