- High blood pressure can be controlled by a significant lifestyle change
- You should cut down on salt if you have high blood pressure
- Calcium helps in the contraction and relaxation of blood vessels
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a serious health problem that can increase the risk of several heart (occurrence of coronary artery disease, stroke and death) and kidney diseases. Blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the blood vessels. It occurs when the arterial walls narrow down. Some common risk factors of high blood pressure include excessive smoking and drinking, excessive salt in your diet and a sedentary lifestyle. High blood pressure can be really dangerous an is often called the silent killer. This is because there may be no alarming symptoms for this condition. Fortunately, healthy eating habits, physical activity and limiting alcohol intake can help manage blood pressure.
As mentioned earlier, a healthy balanced diet is extremely important for managing high blood pressure. The three vital nutrients which play an important role in controlling the blood pressure are calcium, magnesium and potassium. Increasing the intake of these three nutrients can be really helpful if you have hypertension.
Nutritionist Rupali Dutta said, "Potassium, is important for proper functioning of muscle and helps control BP by relaxing the walls of the arteries. It is also known to assist in conducting the electrical signals in the heart that are crucial to prevent irregular heartbeat." Potassium rich foods are extremely important for high blood pressure patients. Foods rich in potassium are oranges, mushrooms, spinach broccoli, sweet potatoes, prunes, bananas and apricots.
Magnesium helps in regulating hundreds of body systems, including blood pressure, blood sugar levels, muscle and nerve function. The human body needs magnesium for energy production and development of strong bones. Just like potassium, magnesium in high quantities can be lost in urine due to diuretic use, which can further lead to low magnesium levels. "Magnesium helps blood vessels relax thereby lowering blood pressure. It is also involved in the in the transportation of calcium and potassium," said nutritionist Rupali Dutta. Foods rich in magnesium are bananas, avocado, kale, nuts and seeds, chickpeas, black beans and spinach.
Not only for strong bones but this essential mineral can be helpful for managing hypertension as well. People who suffer from calcium deficiencies are at a higher risk of blood pressure. As an added benefit, calcium is crucial for the release of hormones and enzymes we need for most body functions to perform smoothly. We consume calcium naturally in dairy products like milk and yoghurt, cheese, lentils, fatty fish like salmon, sardines and dark, leafy greens. Nutritionist further adds, "Calcium helps in the contraction and relaxation of blood vessels."
(Dr Rupali Datta is Consultant Nutritionist at Fortis Escorts)
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