Remember, each time you are craving for that salty snack you could be thirsty. Grab a glass of water instead. Our bodies don’t distinguish between salt and thirst”- Swati Bathwal
High blood pressure accounts for number one risk factor for death in the world. Did you know every year 9 million people across the globe gets effected with this condition? When you visit a doctor, you hear 120/85 mm Hg and then you are told its normal. So, let me tell you briefly what it means. 120, the first number also known as “systolic” is the pressure in the arteries as our blood pumps from the heart, the other number “diastolic” is the pressure in our arteries while heart is resting between the beats. A normal blood pressure is under 120/80, anything above 140/90 is considered hypertensive or high blood pressure. So, what will happen if pressure increases? An increase pressure in the heart damages heart muscles, eyes and kidneys which can also increase strain the heart causing bleeding in the brain, certain arteries might expand and rupture. High blood pressure causes diseases of the heart and stroke.
Many people may dislike this suggestion, but salt contains sodium, most varieties of salt whether it is Sendha, Himalayan, Sea salt, Celtic salt, Table salt etc. This term salt means it has some amount of sodium in it. It is 40% sodium and 60% chloride. There were no saltshakers millions of years ago. The only source of salt were vegetables and fruits. Our fruits naturally contain range of sodium in them. When you add salt to your meals, you increase sodium in your meals which raises blood pressure within 3 hours of consumption of that meal. According to Health organizations one must not consume more than 1500mg of sodium in a day which is equivalent to ¾ teaspoon which means less than 3gm of salt in a day. Now imagine all that salt you have been shaking on the dining table and on your gravies, they are just adding additional salt and increasing blood pressure. Even you are deficient in Iodine, ¾ teaspoon of iodised salt is enough for the day. Our tastes buds will adjust within 20-25 days once you stop consumption of extra salt.
Know your hidden salt: Industrial foods are one of the major reasons of salt in our diet. When we add salt to our meals, it draws water and increases the weight of the product by almost 20%. Now, think about all that weight in chicken or meat or even adding in making paneer. Adding sodium certainly increases the volume of the food and adds profit. Think about sodium or salt in cola drinks or soda, canned foods and pickles. Please swap all pickles with oil free pickles! They all add salt to our diet and increase blood pressure. A study called “DASH study” longest study ever done on blood pressure and consumption of salt intake showed that reducing salt in our diet reduced blood pressure naturally. When you check the product label in 100gm of each serving size, it should be 100mg sodium on the label.
Trick to reduce salt: Drink sips of water, remove saltshakers from dining table, start using fresh homemade chutneys instead of tinned or canned sauces, swap breads with chapati's and use variety of herbs like coriander, parsley, mint, oregano, chives in your meals. I always sprinkle herbs and spices to make my meals nutritious, add antioxidants and increase vitamin C. Adding vitamin C to the meals will reverse sodium effect in the blood.
Consume flaxseed powder
Flaxseeds can drop blood pressure by almost 15-17 points if consumed regularly. Add 1 tablespoon flaxseed powder to your meals either on the salad, soups, mix it in milk, smoothies, milkshakes or just them with a glass of water. Easiest way to get flaxseed powder in the diet is by adding them to the dough while making chapati's. In a day consume 2 tablespoons flaxseed powder.
Hibiscus flower is of utmost significance in reducing blood pressure. Boil 1 cup water and soak 1 hibiscus flower or add 1 tablespoon dried hibiscus powder. Once boiled strain and add 1 teaspoon stevia powder or ½ teaspoon honey. Consume this tea 2 times in a day. Make sure you rinse your mouth each time you drink this tea.
Power of Beetroot
Consume beetroot juice (½ beetroot only a day) or a glass of mixed vegetable juice with beetroot leaves or amaranth leaves, coriander leaves, beetroot and lettuce. These foods are rich in nitric oxide. Nitric oxides reduce blood pressure by helping dilate arteries and it enables our body to extract more energy from that oxygen. Instead of juice these vegetables can also be used as salads, stir fries or in cooked form.
Above are some dietary measures to reduce blood pressure. Weight loss along with lifestyle changes are required to control blood pressure. Exercise moderately for 45 minutes to an hour everyday helps in reducing blood pressure. This can be moderate pace walk, cycling, swimming or anything alike. Also, not to forget the importance of keeping stress under check by either meditating, chanting or relaxing or having a sound sleep. Reduce alcohol intake!
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