What you eat affects your blood pressure in several ways. Eating a lot of foods which are high in saturated fats can cause a condition called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis causes your blood vessels to narrow, resulting in high blood pressure. Foods that are high in fat or sugar can also contribute to obesity, which increases your risk of high blood pressure. The same applies if you eat more calories than you burn. Foods, which contain potassium, magnesium and fibre are all thought to help control blood pressure. Potassium is a mineral that helps to lower blood pressure by balancing out the adverse effects that salt has on your body. You can get potassium from a wide range of foods, such as potatoes, (especially sweet potatoes) bananas, no added sugar tomato sauce, orange juice, yoghurt and fat-free milk. Tuna fish is also a good source of potassium. Potassium helps your kidneys get rid of more sodium through your urine. This, in turn, lowers your blood pressure. Below is a list of some foods that can help lower blood pressure.
Leafy greens, which are high in potassium, include:
• Gadren egg leaves
• beet rgeens
• Pawpaw leaves
Waterleaf is especially useful for managing high blood pressure. The leaves are excellent for diarrhoea, liver enlargement, and hepatitis. It is an excellent immune booster to those who often feel weak and tired, and those prone to frequent attacks of malaria. In many scientific studies and trails, waterleaf showed that it could inhibit the proliferation of cancerous cells and shrink tumours.
Other studies have been focused on its cerebral-protective potential, and it indicates that consumption of waterleaf enhances brain activities and protects brain tissues. Waterleaf is also a good remedy for insomnia (sleeping disorder).
Waterleaf contains more proteins than cashew nuts, more pectin (a food fibre that helps digestion) than apples, and have a high level of vitamin B, essential amino acids, omega3- fatty acids, resins, iron, calcium, copper, lead, manganese and zinc. It is also a rich source of carotenoids, vitamin C, A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, alpha and beta tocopherols. Below are things to keep in mind when using vegetable:
• Don’t buy fruit and vegetable dishes that come with sauces. They often contain a lot of fat, salt and sugar.
• Vary the types of fruit and vegetables you eat. Each has different health benefits, and it will keep your meals interesting. By eating a wide range of fruit and vegetables, you will ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.
• Don’t add sugar to fruit or salt to vegetables when you cook or serve them.
• Try to eat fresh fruit and veg-etables as soon as possible. They will lose their nutrients over time, so if you want to store your ingredients for a while, it is best to freeze them or buy frozen packets.
• Avoid leaving vegetables open to the air, light or heat if they have been cut. Always cover and chill them, but don’t soak them because the vitamins and minerals can dissolve away.
• Vegetables keep more of their vitamins and minerals if you lightly steam or bake them, instead of boiling or frying them.
• If you boil vegetables, use as little water as possible to help keep the vitamins and minerals in them.
Beets are high in nitric oxide, which can help open your blood vessels and lower blood pressure. The nitrates in beetroot juice help to lower blood pressure within a few hours. Beets are grown in the northern part of Nigeria and transported to the rest of the country for sales. Check your local vegetable market for beets. You can juice your own beets or merely cook and eat the whole root. Beetroot is delicious when roasted or added to stir-fries and stews. You can also bake them into chips. Be careful when handling beets — the juice can stain your hands and clothes.