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In India, about 10 million people are diagnosed with hypertension or high blood pressure. It is no wonder then that we come across this term multiple times without fully realizing the consequences of it.
Hypertension is another term for high blood pressure which refers to the force of blood against your artery walls. High BP can go undetected for years but a few symptoms include headaches, shortness of breath, or nosebleeds.
If you check your BP and find it to be above 140/90, then you have high blood pressure. If this continues for a prolonged period of time, it can eventually turn into life-threatening conditions such as heart disease or even cause a stroke. Hence, it is extremely that you monitor it regularly and manage it to avoid heart conditions in the future.
As it turns out, managing your blood pressure is as easy as managing your diet! Cutting out a few things can benefit your health and ensure that your heart stays healthy.
We spoke to Dr Udgeath Dhir, Director & Head, CTVS, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, who provided us with his insights on certain foods and ingredients one must refrain from consuming when dealing with high BP:
1. Chaat masala
According to Dr Dhir, chaat masala and other such seasoning masalas often come with a high content of salt.
The sodium in salt can impact the kidneys and lead to water retention in our bodies. This extra stored water raises BP and puts a strain on kidneys, arteries, heart, and brain.
2. Frozen foods
For so many of us, frozen foods are a weakness given that they’re super convenient to prepare and taste fantastic. However, they can affect your health adversely and especially so if you suffer from high blood pressure.
Be it frozen fries or nuggets, you must avoid frozen foods since only a small amount of salt occurs naturally in most food items and a considerable amount of salt is added during the processing of these products so as to enhance their shelf life as well as taste, our expert advises.
Pickles are a favourite amongst all Indians. It can be made out of raw mangoes or gajar, it can be served with paratha or rice but there is no denying that most of us love the khatta-meetha taste it lends to our meals.
However, Dr Dhir reminds us that pickles come with a very high salt content even if we prepare them at home. This is because salt is the main preservative required to ensure that pickles stay edible for a longer period of time. And so our expert advises that you avoid pickles if you’re a BP patient or suffer from kidney issues.
4. Red meat
Red meat is a type of meat derived from animals that is red when raw and turns to a darker colour when cooked. So, pork, mutton, and lamb are some of the most commonly eaten red meats.
Dr Dhir says that red meat should be avoided by patients suffering from high blood pressure because it is packed with cholesterol and regular consumption may prove to be bad for your heart. In fact, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine notes that eating red meat can raise the chances of cardiovascular disease.
5. Salted and flavoured nuts
According to Dr Dhir, nuts such as almonds and walnuts can be a good snacking option for BP patients. While other nuts should be avoided, including almond, hazelnut and walnut in your diet in moderation can aid good health. However, salted and flavoured variants of these nuts are a big no-no given the high salt content.
These foods can actually good for high BP patients
Just like some foods are bad for the heart, there are some which can help the heart stay healthy. Dr Dhir recommends these foods for hypertension parents:
High blood pressure should be managed timely and all it will take are a few changes to your diet!