On Tuesday, May 17th the world focused on Hypertension or High Blood Pressure as it is known. Hypertension is a medical condition which increases the risk of heart failure, heart attacks and strokes and is known as a silent killer. This is because you might not even be experiencing any obvious symptoms to indicate that something is wrong.
In Barbados, according to the World Health Organisation, fifty (50%) of adults are hypertensive. This is indeed alarming but there is hope. Did you know that leading a healthful lifestyle can reduce and even reverse this condition?
Here are some useful tips:
It is important to reduce your salt intake; control your stress as much as possible; monitor your blood pressure at home; exercise regularly; refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol; get your annual physical check-ups; and control your body weight.
Studies also show that an increase in potassium helps to reduce or clear sodium from the body. Sodium contributes to hypertension because it prevents the kidneys from removing water from the body efficiently. This excess water leads to a hike in blood pressure.
Here are some high potassium foods that you can enjoy: spinach, tomatoes, avocadoes, prune/prune juice, bananas and sweet potatoes.
You might also wish to improve your fibre intake by topping up on legumes (variety of beans and peas), fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds (pumpkin, chia, flax etc.) nuts (almonds, pistachios etc.)
To increase fibre you can avoid peeling vegetables where possible; consider changing to whole meal and whole grain bread; swapping white rice and white flour for brown; or trying steel-cut or rolled oats instead of instant oats.
Bear in mind that your reaction to stress can also affect your blood pressure. Cast your cares and worries on Jesus and try to relax. Claim His promises as you read His word. Ask God to help you to break the curse of worry, fear, anxiety, and anger. Breathe deeply – practice this technique several times during the day as this relaxes the body, slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure.
Keep calm, be positive, enjoy life, get enough sleep, and ALWAYS remember that you are God’s masterpiece put together by the hands of an Almighty Creator.
VICTORY IS OURS.