Hypertension or high blood pressure is attributable to various factors such as age, sex, and family history. As people grow older, their blood pressures tend to increase. Also, males tend to have higher blood pressures than females; this is due to the effect of the female hormones on the cardiovascular system- however, during menopause the effects of these hormones are lost. Most of these natural factors cannot be altered, but you can do a lot to reduce your lifetime chances of having a consistently elevated blood pressure by modifying some food choices, especially salt consumption.
It is now an established fact that the common food ingredient, salt is highly implicated as a strong risk factor for developing hypertension when consumed in excess. Analysis of key studies on salt intake and blood pressure shows a direct causal relationship between habitual dietary salt intake and raised blood pressure, they also find that reduction of salt intake to one teaspoon per day would reduce ones risk of having a cardiovascular event(stroke, heart attack) by about 23%.
The average salt content of the Nigerian diet is not known, but with the variety of spicy dishes local tour areas, it is certain that the average daily consumption is far greater than one teaspoon per day. Also salt in the diet comes from the seasoning that we use in addition to salt.
Blacks naturally retain salt more than their white counterparts, they have also been found to retain excess salt during periods of stress, this predisposes the average struggling young Nigerian to becoming hypertensive. The news is not all bad. Because we can reduce our salt intake, and take in more healthy food choices that contain less salt.
Consider these few tips:
- Stick to foods with unique less Sodium content- e.g. Oats
- Eat more raw foods that don’t require to be salted- e.g. Fruits
- Quantitatively limit your food seasonings
- Drift away from canned foods that are often laden with salted preservatives