by Ayo Baje
The current situation in the world whereby heart disease (hypertension, stroke) remain the leading cause of premature deaths, especially among males all is worrisome. Yet, the heart, as the vital organ that pumps blood to about 73 trillion cells of the human body must be sufficiently active and healthy all day long, all years of your precious life. Unfortunately, modern anti-healthy lifestyles have led us to this sorry past.
The good news however, is that heart disease could be prevented through adequate nutrition. Generally, for a healthy heart, you should eat breakfast every day. Avoid frying and baking of food, instead steam them.
But first, let us understand important issues such as Normal Blood Pressure, hypertension (pre-stages 1 and 2) and stroke.
Normal blood pressure
The heart, which is the size of a clenched human fist is a muscular organ located in the left rib cage that pumps blood to other parts of the body. And this takes place as long as one lives; from the embryonic stage to the time of death.
It beats by contraction of the muscles to release blood through the arteries to all the living cells and relaxes to receive blood into it through the veins. As it does, both contraction and relaxation, it exerts some pressure on the artery and vein walls.
SYSTOLIC PRESSURE is the pressure exerted when the heart is contracting.
DIASTOLIC PRESSURE is that exerted by the heart while relaxing. Both are measured in millimeters mercury (mmHg).
Blood Pressure Systolic Diastolic
Normal <120 <80
Hypertension I 140-159 90-99
Hypertension II ≥160 ≥100
There are usually no symptoms in the pre-hypertension stage. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (HBP) is therefore, a condition when the systolic blood pressure is over 140 and diastolic is above 90.
Symptoms of HBP include frequent headache, dizziness, tinnitus, blurred vision, confusion, fatigue, irregular heartbeat (palpitation), bleeding from the nose (episterxis), lack of sleep (insomnia), chest pain or heaviness of the heart (agina pectoris). Yet, all these warning signals may not be easily visible or common to the sufferers or victims.
That is why it is called the SILENT KILLER.
There are two types of hypertension.
ESSENTIAL HYPERTENSION: which is physiological or hereditary in nature, and
SECONDARY HYPERTENSION which is organically caused as a result of diseases of some organs.
Causes of Hypertension:
These include family history; as it may be inherited, age, stress, psychological effects, diseases of some organs, diabetes, obesity, high salt diet and if there is history of stroke in the family.
What is a stroke?
Stroke or cardiovascular arrest (CVA) is the sudden death of the brain tissue, caused by lack of oxygen supply to it. This happens when there is regular interruption of blood supply to a portion of the brain. That portion of the brain so affected is called infarct.
The two ways that brain tissues can die are:
ISCHAEMIC CVA/STROKE – when there is a blockage or reduction of blood flow in an artery that feeds that area of the brain.
HAEMORRHAGIC CVA/STROKE – takes place when there is bleeding within and around the brain due to “arteriole rupture” or vascular accident causing compression and head trauma.
Bleeding within the brain tissue is known as intracerebral hemorrhage caused primarily by hypertension (high blood pressure).
CAUSES OF STROKE
Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure.
Heart disease such as mycardial infarction.
The heaviness of heart or chest pain (Angina pectoris).
Fat deposit (arteriosclerosis).
Transient Ischaemic Attacks (TIAs) are brief attacks that last between a few minutes and a whole day but the victim recovers. They are caused by:
High blood cholesterol, high alcohol consumption, obesity, diabetes, cigarette smoking. Prolonged use of oral contraceptive and family history contribute to it.
Olive oil reduces the chances of cholesterol level. The presence of alpha-tocopherol in the oil helps in preventing blood arteries disorder.
How to manage High Blood Pressure
Regular exercise. Reduction of stress. Avoid too much intake of caffeine.
Quit smoking. Lose weight. Regular exercise such as brisk walking, cycling. Avoid table salt because of high content of sodium. Go for medical check-up and keep blood pressure diary.
* Tomatoes are said to contain the highest amount of lycopene. They help to reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. So, eat tomatoes in salads.
* Eat a carrot every day (boiled or steamed) to reduce your risk of stroke by more than 50 percent. You should include it in your diet, either in the form of juice or adding to the vegetable soup.
Drink green tea as it helps to lower your risk of heart disease by improving the health of the cells lining the blood vessels.
*Almonds are as rich in proteins as red meat per kilogram. Eating an almond per day reduces the risk of heart attack by 50 percent.
* Three glasses of milk daily lead to 18 percent decreased the risk of heart disease, according to the January 2011 edition of American Journal of Chemical Nutrition.Seventeen studies were conducted in Europe, USA, and Japan.
According to Dr. Cindy Schmeitzer, Technical Director, Global Dairy Platform, milk and dairy products are healthy foods loaded with naturally occurring nutrients such as calcium, potassium and of course, protein.
Contain antioxidants and healthy fats. They lower bad triglycerides but boost heart-protecting High-Density Lipo Protein (HDL)
White Star Apple (Agbalumo)
A Recent study by researchers at the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science and Technology, Covenant University, Ogun State, show that it lowers blood sugar and cholesterol, preventing both heart disease and diabetes.
Red wine contains reversterol that prevents clotting of blood. The four sub-classes found in wine are catechins (or flavan-3-ols), flavonols, anthocyanins and tannins.
Plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains
All are rich in vital vitamins, minerals, fiber but low in sodium. Five servings of fruits a day reduce the risk of heart disease.
Plenty of walking and relaxation/
Oily cold-water fish such as sardines, tuna and salmon are high in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Olive oil’s monounsaturated fat helps to lower the bad, low-density lipo- protein (LDC).