By Amar Chandel
Don’t let the high blood pressure that you have been diagnosed with scare you out of your wits. It is not exactly a disease, but only a warning sign that the food you have been eating and the lifestyle you have been leading have clogged your blood vessels and your heart is having to exert extra pressure to keep blood moving through it.
Just as the bad lifestyle caused it, the good one can cure it. Medicines are only an aid. The main job has to be done by your food and those are quite tasty to boot. So please go into your kitchen for treatment. Certain bounties of nature are excellent in opening up your arteries and those should be a regular part of your diet from now.
The most potent of them is beetroot juice. A glass of this shimmering liquid should be a daily part of your intake for life. Treat this as your daily medicine. You might see a drop in your readings in as little as three hours.
Beets are full of nitrates which cause blood vessels to expand. Besides reducing BP, these eliminate toxins. Taking nitrate in natural form is a hundred times better than taking a nitrate tablet.
Nitrites in killer foods like hot dogs gave you the disease; nitrates will cure it.
Those who happen to have kidney issues should mix it with carrot juice. Regular use may give a sharp colour to your urine. Don’t be scared. That is completely harmless.
Please note that the results will not come in a day. It took you some 15 years to clog your arteries. Please give your system at least 15 months to undo the damage. Of course, medicines can show results in a matter of days but you have to account for side-effects also. So follow a two-pronged strategy. Let medicines do the SOS job. The long-term cure will come only through dietary wisdom.
Another prescribed diet is blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Natural compounds in them called anchocyanins are your insurance against hypertension. Eat them like crazy every day of your life. Fresh will be the best but the dried ones will also do. Besides, those are full of antioxidants.
I know it will not make you very popular with friends but garlic too has to be added to your menu. The organosulphur compound allicin that it has reduces hypertension and is also antibacterial and anti fungal. The pungent clove is also very good for those with heart conditions.
Other good foods for those with BP are bananas, dark chocolate (and I mean really dark, at least 85 percent), spinach, cabbage and coconut water. Plus spice up your food with rosemary, cumin seeds, cinnamon, basil, bay leaves, saffron, turmeric, ginger and black pepper.
But the best antidote for blood pressure is weight management. If you are on the plump side, you are almost sending a written invitation to BP.
(Amar Chandel is a health specialist and author of “Stress to Serenity” and “Perfect Health in Twenty Weeks”. The views expressed are personal.)