Hypertension: Foods, drinks patients must avoid or watch

Food store
Food store [Photo Credit: Wikipedia]

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says African countries have the highest prevalence of hypertension with 46 per cent of their people aged 25- years and above having the disease.

Once known to affect the elderly, unfortunately the disease now also affects the young.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are often called “silent killers” because most people are not aware they have them. Heart attacks and strokes are a common first warning sign of the diseases.

High blood pressure is the most frequent and most important risk factor for CVDs. Its prevalence is estimated to be about 20 million in Africa.

Behavioural risk factors are responsible for about 80 percent of coronary heart disease and stroke. Unfortunately, hypertension or high blood pressure is hereditary.

PREMIUM TIMES here notes some of the foods and drinks people with high blood pressure should avoid.

1. Too much salt or salty food

High intake of salt has been linked with the increase of blood pressure and heart disease. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guideline for Americans suggest that people with hypertension or prehypertension should limit their daily salt intake to just 1,500 milligram (mg)

To reduce the risk of an attack, a hypertensive patient or prehypertension should reduce to barest minimum the intake of salt or salty food. This includes canned and processed foods.

2. Fatty food/Tran- fatty

– Fatty food increases the cholesterol level in the body. This could be the good cholesterol (HDL) or the bad cholesterol (LDL). LDL can cause heart attack when it clogs the arteries that pump blood heart to the whole body.

3. Sugar

High intake of sugar can lead to weight gain which can later lead to obesity. The increase in weight can lead to high blood sugar (Diabetes) or high blood pressure. Sometimes this diseases go hand in hand. The American Heart Association recommends that women should limit their added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons, or 24 grams per day. Men should limit themselves to 9 teaspoons or 36 grams per day.

4. Smoking

Tobacco smoking has been linked to increased cardiovascular diseases. Nicotine in the cigarette is a problem because it raises the blood pressure and heart beat rate. This narrows the heart chambers and hardens the arteries wall, implying the blood is more likely to clot. A blood clot in the heart stresses the heart and set it up for a cardiac attack or stroke.

5. Alcohol

Small to moderate amount of alcohol would do no harm. However, drinking too much can increase risk of cancer, heart diseases and hypertension. According to Mayo Clinic, having more than three drinks in one sitting can cause a temporary spike in blood pressure. Alcohol can also prevent any blood pressure medication from working effectively.

6. Carbohydrate

– Carbohydrate when broken down in the body becomes sugar. This, can lead to high blood sugar or obesity. Excess carbohydrate should thus be avoided.

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Ayodamola Owoseye is a senior reporter covering the health beat for PREMIUM TIMES.  She is a graduate of the University of Ibadan, and holds a B.A in Anthropology and M.Sc in Information Science.

Ayodamola advocates gender equity and loves travelling and listening to old skool music. Twitter: @damolaowoseye


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