Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Foods to prevent/manage Hypertension


With 95% of all cases of hypertension belonging to the essential hypertension category, the best way to prevent hypertension, is to pay close to attention to our diet. Following is a list of 6 common foods that you would normally overlook, but these 6 foods are quite effective when it comes to preventing or lowering hypertension!

Garlic: Garlic is known as the most effective agent against hypertension or high blood pressure, as it contains a compound known as Adenosine which dilates the muscles of the blood vessels, which helps to lower high blood pressure. Further boosting the effectiveness of garlic against hypertension is the presence of hydrogen sulphide and allicin - an organosulfur compound, both of which help immensely in reducing high blood pressure and cholesterol levels too!

To get the maximum benefit from garlic, it is best to consume it in its raw form. Consuming a clove of raw garlic a day goes a long way in controlling hypertension.

Saffron: India is known as the land of spices and herbs, one such herb saffron, is immensely effective when it comes to managing hypertension. Saffron or Kesar, as it is popularly known contains a water soluble carotenoid called as crocetin, which is known to lower high blood pressure in individuals suffering from hypertensions.

In fact researchers point out that in Spain, where saffron is consumed as a part of daily diet, there are very few hypertension cases reported as compared to other nations.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are found in almost every Indian meal preparation either as a garnish or as an ingredient. But these very tomatoes go a great way in helping to protect you from hypertension, as they contain large quantities of calcium and potassium – 2 substances required to control the levels of sodium in one’s bloodstream, along with Vitamins A, C and E.

Tomatoes also contain anti-oxidants in the form of Lycopene which prevent the LDL cholesterol- bad cholesterol from oxidizing and sticking to the walls of blood vessels which results in elevated blood pressure levels. Moreover Tomatoes are also known to be high in gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) which is proven to lower high blood pressure levels.

Banana: This yellow colored delicious fruit comes packed with potassium, which works in accordance with sodium to regulate the bodily fluids, thereby not letting the levels of sodium rise; rise in sodium levels in the body leads to hypertension. Research conducted by Indian scientists has found that natural compounds found in the banana mimic the actions of anti-hypertension drugs!

Coconut Water: The simple and tender coconut is great when it comes to controlling and reducing high blood pressure. Containing high quantities of potassium in excess of 600 mg per 11 oz of serving, coconut water also contains high levels of Vitamin C which make it very effective in controlling or preventing hypertension. However, one must not consume too much coconut water as it also contains sodium along with potassium.

Spinach: Spinach is one of the richest natural sources of calcium, magnesium and potassium. Plus spinach consists of Folate, a B-vitamin found in tomatoes and citrus fruits; Folate is known to help in the reduction of Homocysteine, an amino acid found in blood which damages blood cells. Folate is also known to help blood vessels relax, which helps to improve blood pressure.

So, now that you know of the foods that will help prevent and control hypertension, do go ahead and incorporate them in your diet and thereby not include yourself in the 10% of adult Indians suffering from hypertension.

Source: http://www.medimanage.com

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