Almost 67 million Americans have high blood pressure, and more than half of them do not have it under control.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death in the United States. It also can lead to kidney failure and erectile dysfunction. You may suffer from headaches, sleep deprivation, loss of vision, ability to think clearly if you have high blood pressure. You are also more likely to have other components of metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is a cluster of disorders of your body's metabolism – including increased waist circumference, high triglycerides, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high insulin levels. The more components you have, the greater your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease or stroke.
It is of utmost importance for you to learn what you can do to get your blood pressure under control.
High blood pressure often can be administered through healthy lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise and a heart-healthy, lower sodium diet.
More than 75% of the sodium we eat comes from processed and restaurant foods. Limiting the amount of pre-packaged processed foods and our trips to fast food joints can drastically make a difference in our health and well-being.
Current diet guidelines for Americans recommend that adults in general should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. At the same time, consume potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
However, if you are in the following population groups, you should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day, and meet the potassium recommendation (4,700 mg / day) with food.
- You are 51 years of age or older
- You are African American
- You have high blood pressure
- You have diabetes
- You have chronic kidney disease
The 1,500 mg recommendation applies to about half of the US population overall and the majority of adults. Nearly everyone benefits from reduced sodium consumption. Eating less sodium can help prevent, or control, high blood pressure. To learn more about sodium in your diet, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/Sodium/index.html .
Tips for reducing sodium include
• Reading and comparing labels while shopping to find the lowest sodium options of your favorite foods that do come in a box, jar, or can
• a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in processed and packaged foods
The majority of sodium in our diet comes from packaged food and drinks. If you must buy something that comes in a can, jar or box be sure to compare brands by checking the label for:
a) the amount of sodium per serving
b) the amount of servings per container
It is also a good idea to compare the scheduled fat content and sugar content.
Increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in our diet can help aid in lowering blood pressure. Adequate consumption of naturally low sodium foods such as fruits and vegetables
provide nutrients such as potassium and fiber. In addition to eating low-sodium foods, eating high-potassium foods such as potatoes, beans, bananas, and yogurt can help reduce blood pressure.
When buying fruits and vegetables choose fresh or frozen (no sauce) for maximum benefits.
Buy your meats fresh from the meat counter and avoid any packaged meats as these are often high in sodium and low in nutrients.
My general rule when I shop is to stick to the outside aisles of the store. It's produce, Meat, Dairy and Frozen. Limit the inside aisles where the packaged products are and you will buy less.
Taking the steps necessary to improve your eating and drinking habits and losing weight is not about staying alive. It is about quality of life. Living life with the least amount of pain and being able to continue to do the things we love as we age.
My aunt had a stroke just over 12 years ago now. It paralleled her and left her in a wheelchair. She remained at home for a couple years being cared for by her daughter and when it came to being too much she went into a nursing home.
Is that any way to live? I do not think so. Learning to Eat and Lose weight is so worth it. Not only for our health but our daily comfort.