People, especially bikers, protect themselves from road accident by wearing a helmet; airbag in cars also prevents one from an impact. Now, what about our health? Doesn’t it also need such protection? It sure does but in an entirely different way. You only need to make some changes to your lifestyle to lead a healthy life. And just one small positive alteration and you can avert issues like high blood pressure.
High blood pressure issues are a big concern for reputable health bodies across the world. Take a look at the report from the World Health Organization on high blood pressure. It shows that millions of people around the world lose the battle to this condition on a large scale on an annual basis.
But the good thing is you can defend yourself and maintain healthy blood pressure levels. You might not have the capacity to change a high blood pressure issue caused by genetic factors. But you can make lifestyle changes if you make up your mind. So if you are ready to defend your health, here are three things you need to do starting from today.
1. Watch your sodium consumption
When issues regarding high blood pressure come up, one vital organ that doesn’t get much attention is the kidney. But this organ plays a crucial role in making one healthy. It helps to filter the blood and removing toxins from the body.
But excess salt consumption can be harmful to this organ. It creates a kind of imbalance and causes the kidney to over labor itself, leading to toxin build-up and other devastating conditions. The reason is that organ will no longer be able to function to capacity.
Is excess sodium intake from home cooked foods?
Excess sodium intake is not only from foods cooked at home. According to the FDA, about 75 per cent of salt Americans consume comes from packaged and fast foods. Our busy lives somehow contribute to an increase in sodium intake. There isn’t enough time to prepare home-cooked foods these days. Tight schedules, desire to make more wealth and other responsibilities take up a more significant part of our time. But it’s still very possible to cut down on sodium intake. It all boils down to discipline. Below are a few tips that will also help you reduce sodium intake from foods:
- Cook with less salt.
- Always get your salt shaker out of sight.
- Don’t exceed the recommended 2300 mg of daily salt consumption for adults.
- Consume more potassium-rich foods such as banana, oranges, cucumber, and grapefruit. They can help remove excess salt from the body.
2. Have moderate or no alcohol
Alcohol is another factor that leads to high blood pressure. So, whenever the urge to have more drinks come knocking, try to resist it. On the bright side, alcohol, when taken in moderation, is beneficial to a large extent. It can even lower high blood pressure a bit. But when consumed in excess, alcohol can make blood pressure medication inactive.
Alcohol also contains excess calories and can cause weight gain. And obesity, as you already know, can lead to high blood pressure issue. So start monitoring your alcohol consumption. You should either avoid alcohol or consume in moderation.
3. Be Mindful of your Sugar Intake
Another thing you can do to defend your health is to cut down on your sugar intake. And even when you feel the urge to consume sugar, choose the natural ones. Of course, there are unrefined and refined or artificial sugars.
However, artificial sugars are still from plants or natural sources. They are from plants such as sugar cane or sugar beets but undergo specific processes to become what they are. These are the type of sugars used to sweeten cookies, cakes, cereals, and even coffee.
Natural sugars are pure and don’t pass through any chemical process. Consider honey, for example, the only procedure they pass through is the removal of foreign materials or wax.
Why are unrefined sugars healthier?
They are unrefined hence they keep all the natural nutrients found in sugar such as magnesium, iron, and calcium. And these nutrients play a significant role in defending our health. Unrefined sugars also have a negligible effect on blood sugar. In other words, when you consume them, your blood sugar won’t increase astronomically.
What are the sources of unrefined sugars?
Natural sugars are from honey, date sugar, cane juice, maple sugar, and fruits. They are considered more health-friendly and a suitable replacement for the refined sugars. So instead of sweetening that tea or coffee by adding processed sugar go for the unrefined ones such as honey or any other natural sweetener.
How can excess sugar lead to BP issues?
Many of the drinks people take on a daily basis contain a high amount of sugar. And excess sugar intake leads to obesity or weight gain, which can also lead to high blood pressure. Besides high BP, obesity is also the mother of many life-threatening conditions like cancer, heart disease, dementia, and even diabetes. So do everything possible to lose weight. You should also avoid foods with high glycemic index. If you are not familiar with the term, here is a glycemic index chart that can help you.
Tips to help you cut down on sugar intake
- Men and women should not exceed 36 and 24 grams of sugar respectively, on a daily basis as recommended by the America Heart Association (AHA).
- Avoid or reduce consumption of sugar-filled drinks.
- Avoid sauces with excess sugar. To give your meal that sugar-free kick, you can opt for fresh chili, yellow mustard or vinegar.
- Read labels of processed foods before consuming them. Your goal should be to ascertain the sugar level in them.
These are lifestyle changes everyone can make to prevent high blood pressure issues in the future. So make an effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle starting from today. In other words, consider the health implication of anything you take into your system before doing so.