The Mirror Lifestyle Content

Over reliance on fried foods, eating high fat foods can lead to hypertention.

Hypertension and diet

Blood pressure is the force of blood against the artery walls. It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and recorded as two numbers; systolic pressure (when the heart beats) over diastolic pressure (when the heart relaxes between beats).


Both numbers are important. Blood pressure rises and falls during the day. But when it stays elevated over time (more than 140/80mmHg), then it is called high blood pressure (Popularly referred to as BP by Ghanaians). 

Your doctor will have to examine you and determine whether you are hypertensive or not.

A silent killer

High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard, and the high force of the blood flow can harm arteries and organs such as the heart, kidneys, brain, and eyes.

 It often has no warning signs or symptoms and thus, referred to as the “silent killer”. High blood pressure can also go undetected for years. Once it occurs, it usually lasts a life time. If uncontrolled, it can lead to heart and kidney diseases, stroke, and blindness.

So many Ghanaians (approximately 1 out of 4) have hypertension. More people will be developing hypertension, especially because of bad eating habits, lack of exercise and also because of family history of hypertension.

Maintaining a healthy weight

Being overweight and obese increases one’s chances of developing hypertension. This risk is further increased in overweight and obese people who have a family history of hypertension. 

Body mass index between 25kg/m2 and 29.5kg/m2 is overweight and BMI greater than or equal to 30kg/m2 is obesity. 

It will be useful if you go and check your BMI since this will help you measure your risk of developing hypertension then you will know how to live to prevent it.

Those who have hypertension already and are obese can benefit from better control of BP if they reduce their weight. 

Being moderately physically active.

One of the benefits of doing a daily walk is the prevention and management of hypertension. Walking for 30 minutes briskly, skipping, dancing, and walking on the treadmill are very good exercises that can help strengthen your heart muscles and then reduce your risk of developing hypertension.  

Joining a keep fit club can really be a motivator when it comes to exercise. Gymns are all over the place and joining one may not be a bad idea at all. There are also indoor video exercises that you can follow to exercise even in your bedroom. 

Just choose one of these and help manage your own blood pressure. This way, you also prevent the complications of high blood pressure. If you already have hypertension, do not exercise until your blood pressure is brought within an acceptable range and your doctor gives you the go ahead.

Following a healthy eating plan;

Reducing sodium intake helps prevent hypertension. Sodium is mostly found in common salt, stock cubes (artificial spices which contain monosodium glutamate) and processed foods. Make a frantic effort to avoid these foods. Some of the processed foods include fruit juices, energy drinks, frozen chicken among others. Salted foods such as koobi, kako, salted beef, salted pig feet, salted tuna, corned beef can also be a major source of sodium in consumers’ diet. 

Over reliance on fried foods, eating of high fat foods such as the Ghanaian’s palava sauce and jollof rice, pastries, cakes, fruit juice, soft drinks among others can be blamed on the increasing prevalence of hypertension in Ghana.  

 Cut down on alcohol consumption Alcohol abusers are more likely to have increased blood pressure as compared to non-alcohol abusers. Little alcohol intake; quantities up to or less than a unit a day may not increase blood pressure. 

The fear, however, is that most people will not be able to stick to the unit per day alcohol consumption. It is better to avoid alcohol, including red wine.

Alcohol can also be an additional source of calories to people who drink before meals or after meals. This will lead to obesity which is strongly associated with hypertension. 

Do not forget your BP medicine;

Some people stop taking their drugs when they get introduced to some herbal preparations. Most of these preparations are claimed to be cure for hypertension. 

In fact, there is no cure so do not be deceived. Stick to your doctor’s prescriptions and only stop if your doctor asks you to.

Know that uncontrolled hypertension today can lead to stroke sometime next year. This can even happen if your blood pressure is so well controlled at the latter date. 

To be on the safer side always, stick to a healthy diet and your medications. Eat well and stay healthy. 



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