High blood pressure, medically known as hypertension, is a cause of significant concern due to its pervasive and insidious nature as a silent killer. This condition, characterized by elevated and sustained blood pressure levels, is a formidable health risk that affects millions of individuals worldwide. What makes high blood pressure particularly worrisome is its ability to quietly wreak havoc on the body over time, often without noticeable symptoms until severe complications emerge.
Let’s first understand the impact of high blood pressure on health:
1. Cardiovascular Problems: Hypertension puts increased strain on the heart, leading to the thickening and stiffening of the heart muscles. This can result in conditions such as heart failure, where the heart cannot pump blood effectively.
2. Stroke: High blood pressure can damage blood vessels in the brain, increasing the risk of stroke. A stroke occurs when there’s a disruption in blood flow to the brain, leading to brain cell damage.
3. Kidney Damage: The kidneys play a crucial role in regulating blood pressure. Hypertension can impair kidney function over time, potentially leading to chronic kidney disease or kidney failure.
4. Vision Issues: Hypertension can damage the blood vessels in the eyes, potentially causing vision problems or even blindness.
5. Atherosclerosis: Elevated blood pressure can lead to the development of atherosclerosis, a condition where fatty deposits build up in the arteries. This narrows the arteries, reducing blood flow and increasing the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events.
6. Peripheral Artery Disease: Hypertension can affect the arteries in the limbs, leading to reduced blood flow to the legs and increasing the risk of peripheral artery disease. This can cause leg pain and increase the risk of infections and tissue damage.
7. Dementia: Some research suggests that untreated hypertension may increase the risk of cognitive decline and dementia in later life.
8. Sexual Dysfunction: Hypertension can lead to sexual dysfunction in both men and women, affecting libido and performance.
9. Complications in Pregnancy: High blood pressure during pregnancy, known as preeclampsia, can have serious consequences for both the mother and baby, including premature birth, low birth weight, and other complications.
10. Overall Health Risks: Hypertension is often associated with other risk factors such as obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which collectively increase the risk of heart disease and other chronic health conditions.
Keeping this in mind, it’s important that a person with high blood pressure choose foods wisely.
Snacking is a time that people usually tend to eat what is available and convenient. Thus, they may end up taking highly salted foods or foods with high sodium or may fail to provide adequate nutrients in the meal.
Let’s look at easy-to-do, convenient snacking ideas that will be right for those dueling increased blood pressure :
1. Cucumber and boiled beetroot slices with homemade Hummus: Enjoy cucumber slices with a side of homemade hummus for a refreshing and low-sodium snack. Hummus is prepared by blending well-cooked kabuli chana, olive oil, garlic, roasted sesame seeds, a pinch of salt(intentionally less), and pepper powder. You can add time to the vegetables to offset the low salt in hummus.
2. Mixed Nuts: A small portion of unsalted mixed nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios can provide healthy fats and protein.
3. A fruit and nut Curd/ yogurt salad: A wonderful low-sugar and high-protein snack that is nourishing. Greet Yogurt will add to the protein. Mix diced fruits like apples, pears, and papaya, and add some chopped nuts like walnuts or almonds, with a sprinkle of chaat masala. Mix this into the curd/yogurt for a flavorful and healthy snack.
4. Roasted Chickpeas: Season and roast chickpeas for a crunchy and fiber-rich snack that’s low in sodium. Alternatively, this can be boiled and whipped up into a chaat in a jiffy with some onions, tomatoes, coriander, lime, and peanuts.
5. Makhana (Fox Nuts): Roasted makhana seasoned with a pinch of black pepper or turmeric can be a crunchy and low-sodium snack option. Can add various seasonings for a variety of tastes.
6. Millet Bhel: There are so many varieties of puffed millet grains available. These can be replaced instead of puffed rice, Add some sprouts, peanuts, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, chopped coriander leaves, a dash of lime, and the chutneys of your choice, and serve. Use crushed cornflakes for extra crunch instead of sev.
7. Roti curd chatpata: A quick dish with leftover rotis with the protein of curd. To a tempering of mustard seeds, add curds beaten with a pinch of salt and turmeric. Stir well, add some green chutney and broken pieces of leftover roti. Cook till semi-dry and serve.
So, no more snacking on high-sodium bread and biscuits and ready-to-eat products. It’s time to look at healthy snacks that will support your efforts to lower your blood pressure.
Also, read our blog ” A Guide to Managing High Blood Pressure” to know more about High blood pressure and its management.
Reach out to us at nutritionwithvibha.com to get a consultation for a specific plan to reduce blood pressure to normal levels and stay healthy.
Stay Nourished! Stay Blessed! 😊