Unless you have recently seen the practice nurse who strapped that grey cuff around your upper arm and checked it, you likely have no idea! This week I am not so much going to cover the risks associated with raised blood pressure as few are unaware of these but rather, pinpoint a few ways to endeavour to keep it under control through diet to reduce the risks.
Head To Your Local Curry House
Studies indicate that vitamins C and E are vital for controlling blood pressure and a good vegetable curry with saag aloo alongside is a great way of getting a good dose of both. Sweet potatoes, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, greens and herbs which often feature in a delicious vegetable curry are bursting with vitamin C, spices (particularly chilli) and nuts that are often added are an excellent source of vitamin E. Saag aloo has the lot, courtesy of possibly the most nutritious little leaf on the plant, spinach and the garlic, onions and garlic which all have enviable antioxidant and cell-protective properties.
If you are watching your waistline, body swerve the rice and naan bread and head for the drier curries rather than the creamy ones.
Time for a Cuppa
Recent recommendations for controlling blood pressure seem to focus on ever-newer and sometimes difficult to embrace tactics but there is a little leaf that can be taken in extract form or used to make a pretty good cup of tea that has been a bit of an oscar winner for some time and that is the humble olive leaf. The extract from the leaves continue to show tremendous promise in preventing or mitigating hypertension by increasing the production of nitric oxide, a signalling molecule that helps relax blood vessels. You will find loose leaf or tea bags in most health shops (it tastes a bit like green tea) or Boots the Chemist and other pharmacies sell an elixir called Ovivo Organic Leaf Infusion with Calendula which can make a refreshing cool drink.
Can You Push It For 30 Minutes?
Regular resistance exercise (weights, push ups, burpees etc) is the way to go when it comes to encouraging the body to burn stored fat for fuel when coupled with an energy-rich diet but when it comes to blood pressure management, aerobic exercise is the man for the job. Those in the know increasingly recommend that we really push ourselves for 30 minutes a few times a week to get the blood pumping through the whole body and raise our heart rate. This is not the kind of exercise where you chat to a friend along the way, this is hard, sweaty work requiring a deal of dedication. Jog or walk very briskly for 4 minutes, jog or run as fast as you can for 1 minute and repeat until your 30 minutes is up and do it outside if you can as not only is the scenery better but also, the terrain is more unexpected and you up your levels of vitamin D from the sun’s rays, however hidden behind the clouds they may be which is another blood pressure modulating essential.
Get Into The Kitchen and Control The Salt
I have to confess to rather liking the banner displayed in M&S stores – ‘we’re comitted to reducing salt faster than you can say sodium chloride’ – clever marketing! However, if you regularly eat ready meals, you are always going to have to do the sums to assess how much salt you consume in a day, a week, a month or a year and when there is too much sodium in your diet and not enough magnesium and potassium it has a detrimental effect on your blood pressure and your overall health. Conversely, when you cook from fresh as often as possible you are in control of the salt cellar – actually, ditch the table salt and go for the box of sea salt please which offers other essential minerals. It is important to remember that the body needs sodium for fluid balance and nerve transmission, just not too much of it so add a little to your cooking, don’t put it on the table at mealtimes and make ready and processed foods an occasional rather than a regular feature.