Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. It can lead to severe health issues and increase your risk of heart diseases, stroke, and sometimes even death. Blood pressure is defined as the force which the blood exerts against the walls of your blood vessels (channels or conduits through which blood is distributed to your body tissues). High blood pressure is a condition in which your blood pressure is constantly too high.

In most developing countries, especially in India, high blood pressure is a rising problem among the young and the working population. Several lifestyle factors such as stress, being overweight, eating too much junk or fatty food, leading an inactive life, and poor or disturbed sleeping patterns are the main reasons for the increasing incidence of hypertension in India. 

Hypertension is the leading cause of most heart diseases and of stroke. Countries like India will soon be termed as the ‘heart disease capital of the world’. 

One in five young adults in India has high blood pressure, according to research presented at the 70th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India (CSI), in 2018. 

Modifying your lifestyle and dietary habits play an important role in managing your blood pressure and preventing it from rising. Before you read on to find out the early signs of hypertension and how certain foods can help prevent hypertension, it is necessary to know what are the ideal or optimal blood pressure levels. 

Optimal Blood Pressure Levels

Your ideal blood pressure is considered to be anywhere between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. In normal, healthy individuals, high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher. 

Blood pressure is measured in units of millimeters of mercury (mmHg). A mmHg is a unit of pressure equal to the pressure that can support a column of mercury 1 millimetre high.

Early Signs of High Blood Pressure

  • Severe headache

  • Dizziness (feeling faint, weak, or unsteady)

  • Nose bleeding

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Blood in the urine

  • Fatigue

  • Facial flushing (reddening of your face, neck, and upper chest, mainly due to stress and anxiety)

  • Change in vision

Managing Hypertension With Common Ingredients/Foods Found in Your Kitchen

A heart-healthy and nutritious diet is essential for lowering blood pressure and maintaining optimal levels. Including the following 8 foods in your diet is known to be beneficial:

1. Onion. The anti inflammatory properties in an onion may help reduce high blood pressure and protect against the formation of clots in blood vessels (clumps of blood). Onions contain flavonol quercetin (a type of flavonoid compound) that helps in lowering the blood pressure and thus, preventing hypertension. 

Various studies have proven that onions taken on a daily basis have shown a positive result in curing heart diseases. It prevents the blood from thickening, a major cause that can lead to blocked arteries. 

2. Garlic. Garlic helps in alleviating blood pressure and also in reducing cholesterol levels. Garlic contains compounds, such as allicin, that have proven to be very helpful in preventing any blood flow obstruction in your arteries. As it makes your blood thinner, it promotes smooth blood flow and reduces high blood pressure. 

Garlic is also known to have anti inflammatory and antiviral properties that are good for your overall health. Eat one garlic clove in the morning or add garlic to your vegetables and curries. 

3. Amla (Indian Gooseberry). Amla juice, if taken on an empty stomach, with one glass of water can save you from various kinds of ailments in the long run. Being a rich source of Vitamin C, it helps in widening your blood vessels and reducing blood cholesterol levels, thus preventing hypertension. 

Amla is an age-old ayurvedic remedy for treating high blood pressure.

4. Green Tea. Consumption of green tea in moderation is very effective and can help in decreasing your stress levels, one of the major causes of high blood pressure. 

Green tea can also enhance your weight loss process, another lifestyle modification to reduce and prevent high blood pressure. 

Hibiscus and oolong tea are recommended for all high blood pressure patients and for individuals who wish to maintain optimal blood pressure levels. Do not over consume green tea as it can cause certain liver and kidney problems.

5. Watermelon. Watermelon is everyone’s favourite fruit during summers due to its high- water content, which prevents dehydration (loss of excess fluids from your body). Other than keeping you hydrated, watermelon can help in keeping your heart healthy. 

Watermelon contains an amino acid called citrulline, which is known to aid the flow of your blood and prevent the formation of a clot in the vessels, thus helping in lowering high blood pressure.

6. Lemon. Lemons are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that may help keep your heart healthy by reducing high blood pressure. Lemon helps in softening the blood vessels and removing any rigidity that can possibly hamper your smooth flow of blood. 

You can consume lemon either in the form of juice or just its peel can also do the trick. You can also add honey to a glass of lemon water.

7. Honey. Regular consumption of honey along with a glass of water in the morning, not only provides a refreshing effect to your body but also helps in relaxing the walls of your blood vessels and controlling blood pressure levels. It contains antioxidant compounds that have been linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

8. Green Leafy Vegetables. Eating green or cruciferous vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and sprouts is a smart way to reduce your blood pressure levels. These vegetables are rich in nitrates, which help to manage blood pressure. They are also loaded with potassium, calcium, and magnesium, making them an excellent choice for people with high blood pressure. 

In addition to adding the above foods to your diet, making little changes in your routine can do wonders in keeping your heart healthy. 

Eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, beating stress, cutting out on caffeine, alcohol, and smoking, and resting well will boost your overall health and reduce blood pressure levels. Consult your general physician in case you repeatedly experience any of the early signs of high blood pressure. 

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.