Last week we spoke about what Hypertension is as the month of May is Hypertension Month. This week we want to dig a little deeper into the practical side of things.
Did you know?
- 225 South Africans are killed by heart diseases every day
- 13% is the number of deaths caused globally by high blood pressure
- 10 people suffer a stroke in South Africa every hour
- 80% of heart disease and strokes can be prevented
High blood pressure is the major risk factor for:
- heart disease
- kidney disease
- eye disease
Make sure you get it checked out regularly as it is known as the silent killer!
What to do about it?
Keep your weight healthy: by only losing 10% of your body weight can help bring down high blood pressure if you are overweight
Exercise regularly: aim for an average of around 30 minutes a day. For the exercise to be worthwhile, you need to feel warmer, breathe harder, and your heart needs to beat faster than it normally does
Eat plenty of fruit and/or vegetables every day. Remember five a day! Eat vegetables raw or lightly steamed, rather than boiled, to get maximum nutrition and avoid frying
Add beetroot to your diet: regular consumption of beetroot juice has been found to help bring down your blood pressure
Cut down on salt: don’t forget a lot of salt is hidden in processed foods and is very high in most breads, cereals, soups and sauces. If possible, always read the label
Cut down on fat and sugar: always check the label. The less ingredients, the better!
Stop smoking tobacco! Your arteries clog up even faster if you smoke and this causes many other health problems. Your blood pressure actually rises while you smoke
Reduce your caffeine intake —remember caffeine is found in some fizzy drinks as well as in coffee and teas
Don’t drink too much alcohol: stick to the daily recommendation: less than 2 drinks for men and 1 for women (1 drink = 350ml beer or 125ml of wine or 30ml shot)
Relax: stress contributes to raising blood pressure. So, avoid stress where possible and take time for relaxation! This can take many forms such as quiet time, socialising, exercising or laughter.
Stay tuned for more tips on high blood pressure and lifestyle changes!
- Southern African Hypertension Society
- Mahan. L.K., Raymond, J.L., 2017. Krause’s Food and the nutrition care process. 14th ed. Missouri: Elsevier, p.659-668