High blood pressure is a frightening disease because it has few symptoms yet puts people at great risk of heart disease or stroke. Huge numbers of people have been diagnosed (up to 75 million in the United States alone) but many more have hypertension and don’t know it. High blood pressure is quite manageable with diet and lifestyle changes, so don’t despair if you have been given (or even just suspect) this diagnosis. Stick with us to learn what you need to do to continue living your best life for many years to come.
Avoid Sugar and Salt
Sorry, but these two tasty food enhancers are major factors in hypertension. You will need to limit your intake of sugar and salt, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat only bland food for the rest of your life. In general, a healthy person should not consume more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. When it comes to sugar, the main concern is avoiding “added” sugar. Our bodies need sugar to function properly, but most of it should come from sources like whole fruit rather than candy or even juice. The American Heart Association recommends a daily intake of added sugar no higher than 37.5 grams (9 teaspoons) for men and 25 grams (6 teaspoons) for women.
1. Canned Beans
Canned vegetables, especially beans, are high in sodium because it is used to extend shelf life. Beans that you buy dry and then soak and cook are actually a very healthy meal choice due to their protein, fiber, and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Adding beans to your meal can help keep your blood sugar steady, too. If you must eat canned beans, you can remove up to 41% of the sodium content by rinsing them in a colander before preparing.
2. Premade Soups
You may be shocked to find out how much sodium is in many varieties of premade soup. It helps to bring out the flavor of noodles and vegetables that were cooked a long time ago, as well as aids in preservation. The sodium in soup also concentrates when it is cooked and some of the water boils off. Luckily, soup is pretty easy to make at home and it tastes better, too. If you’re really pressed for time, look for canned or bottled soups that are labeled as “low sodium” or “reduced salt.” Don’t forget to really read the label, though. The salt may be reduced from that product’s regular recipe, but maybe not enough for people with high blood pressure.
3. Cooked Tomato Products
Have you ever noticed how different home grown tomatoes taste than the ones you buy at the store? That’s because tomatoes grown on a huge scale are typically modified to be firmer so that they can remain unbruised throughout picking, shipping, and stacking on the shelf. This also makes them quite bland. That’s why canned and jarred tomato products need so much sodium to make your sauce, ketchup, and paste palatable. Making tomato-based foods and condiments at home with quality tomatoes is actually quite easy and you can enjoy the flavor you crave with a fraction of the salt.
4. Packaged and Processed Meats
Packaged meats including hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and lunch meat also rely on sodium to preserve the product for a long time. So not only are you getting food loaded with salt and preservatives, you are sacrificing the health benefits of eating fresh food. Red meat is considered more dangerous to health than white meat, but even packaged chicken and turkey have too much sodium. Instead, buy your meat straight from a butcher to get a fresh product that hasn’t been soaked in a giant vat of saltwater.
5. Frozen Meals
Did you know that the food in frozen meals may have been cooked up to a year before you actually eat it? A massive amount of salt is used to make sure the meal still tastes mostly like food by the time you eat it. Some brands do use high quality, low sodium recipes, but you will have to pay more. Another option is to prepare several servings of your favorite meals and freeze them yourself in single-serving containers.
High Sugar Foods to Avoid
You knew already that candy is nothing but sugar and empty calories, but it’s still a bummer for those of us with a sweet tooth. To get your hypertension under control, or simply to live a healthier life, train your taste buds to find satiety in the natural sugars contained in whole fruit. Bananas are an especially good choice because of their potassium content – potassium helps to regulate blood pressure. When you really need a splurge, opt for one small piece of dark chocolate to keep the added sugars down.
2. Soft Drinks
Just one soda per day can push you over your daily recommended limit of added sugars, yet because you drink rather than eat them, they don’t make you feel full or satisfied. And while caffeinated soda boosts your energy and vitality upon consumption, that feeling is very short lived and leaves you even worse off after the inevitable sugar crash. It is better to get your caffeine from lightly sweetened tea or coffee. If it’s simply refreshment you crave, try some sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice or a sprig of mint.
Cookies, cakes, donuts, and other baked goodies can certainly be a hard habit to break, but they are simply loaded with sugar and fat. However, you may still be able to enjoy pastries in moderation. When eating out, share one dessert with the whole table. When you cook at home, you can make use of a sugar substitute such as applesauce, dates, or Stevia. Other healthier substitutes for sugar include pure maple syrup, raw honey, and coconut sugar. These are lower on the glycemic scale and also deliver important antioxidants, electrolytes, and nutrients.
Unfortunately it’s not just tomato sauces that are high in sugar and sodium. Most bottled sauces, dressings, and condiments are loaded with sugar no matter their base. It is important to read labels on these products, and be aware that anything marked “low sugar” may have more sodium to compensate. We encourage you to get creative at home. Fresh herbs, garlic, and olive oil may just leave you more satisfied than any bottled topping.
There is very little health value in alcohol in general, but it can be especially bad for people with high blood pressure. First, alcohol may be high in sugar itself or mixed with sugary beverages. Second, drinking too much causes dehydration and is linked to weight gain, both of which are risk factors for hypertension. And finally, drinking more than three alcoholic beverages in a sitting will spike your blood pressure on the spot. You probably don’t need to avoid alcohol entirely, but try to choose lower sugar options and stick with just one a day.
The bad news is that reducing the amount of sugar and salt in your diet will require some extra effort. Preparing meals fresh at home is the best way to control your intake, but you can still use some packaged products as long as you get good at reading labels. It will take some time to retrain your taste buds, but after awhile, you will start to gain an appreciation of the nuanced flavors in foods that aren’t dominated by sugar and salt. That’s the good news – not only will your hypertension be kept in check, you will likely soon find that you don’t even miss foods with unhealthy levels of sugar and salt.
Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives, has called on the party to lift the suspended
The PDP had last week, suspended the minority leader of the House, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, the deputy minority leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, the Minority Whip, Hon. Gideon Gwani, the Deputy Minority Whip, Hon. Adeogun Adekoya and others, over minority leadership crisis in the House.
Briefing newsmen in National Assembly on Monday, the PDP caucus, joined by the caucuses of other minority parties in the House, said the suspended party members had not committed any offence, as they were only nominated by the “majority of the minority members of the opposition in the House”.
The Caucus reiterated that the emergence of minority leadership of the House was in tandem with “the House Rules, particularly Order 7, rule 8, which states that ‘members of the minority parties in the House shall nominate from among them, the Minority Leader, Minority Whip, Deputy Minority Leader and Deputy Minority Whip’”.
Hon. Legor Idagbo (Cross River), who spoke on behalf of the caucus, appealed to the chairman and National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP to rescind the suspension of Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and five other Honourable members, noting that, if indeed an offence was committed, “the perpetrators would be all 111 of us not the 6 members as were suspended by our great party”.
The caucus commended the Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, for the excellent way he has piloted the affairs of the party.
“With the greatest respect and a huge sense of loyalty to our great party, we commend our national Chairman for the great job of piloting the affairs of our party that has seen the fortune of our party increased in the last few years.
“We also reiterate our resolve to work closely with our national chairman and our party in ensuring that our party returns to power in 2023”, the lawmakers said.
The caucus maintained that it remained resolute in asserting the tradition of the National Assembly in maintaining its status as an independent arm of the government that has since 1999, when democratic rule returned to Nigeria, always determined its own leadership without the meddling of external factors.
“We would like to also state that the parliament since 1999 till date, has remained an independent body that has not been coerced into accepting any leadership imposed on it by external influence not in line with the wishes of the majority of its members”, the caucus added.
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Lagos State, South West Nigeria is number one among the Highly Indebted States in Nigeria in both external and domestic debts, with N1.043 trillion in 2018, in a latest report by the Economic Confidential.
While the external debt stock of Lagos amounts to N513.514 billion, the local debt stock settled at N530.243 billion.
In a meticulous investigation by a team of Economic Confidential researchers on the Annual High Indebted States on External and Domestic Debts as of 2018, the amount owed by Lagos State represents about 20 per cent of the total debts owed by the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, which is N5.376 trillion in 2018.
Among the front runners in the highly indebted states for the external debt stock are Edo, Kaduna, Cross River and Bauchi, with $276.25 million (N99.45 billion), $227.25 million (N81.81 billion), $188.77 million (N67.95 billion) and $133.93 million (N48.21 billion) respectively.
Investigations further revealed that among the first five highly indebted states in the local debt stock saw Lagos emerging tops with N530.243 billion, followed by Delta State with N228.805 billion, Rivers with N225.592 billion, Akwa Ibom State with N198.663 billion and Cross River with N167.955 billion.
The report further showed that outside Lagos State that is leading the pack on total external and domestic debts with N1.043 trillion, Rivers State is second with N253.772 billion, Delta comes to third position with N251.589 billion, followed by Cross River in the fourth position with N235.914 billion and the fifth position was grabbed by Akwa Ibom with N215.099 billion.
The investigation also brought to the fore that five states made the list of least indebted states in the external debt stock with Taraba State having $21.611 million (N7.780 billion), followed by Borno with $21.618 million (N7.782 billion), and Yobe State with $27.486 million (N9.895 billion), all in North Eastern Nigeria.
The remaining two states of Plateau and Kogi from North Central Nigeria have external debt stock of $28.874 million (N10.394 billion) and $31.584 million (N11.370 billion) respectively.
Of the 36 states of the federation, five states account for the lowest in both domestic and external debts.
They are: Yobe, Jigawa, Sokoto, Katsina and Niger States.
Yobe State has a total of N37.667 billion, Jigawa N46.586 billion, Sokoto with N52.723 billion, while Katsina and Niger States have N53.220 billion and N63.915 billion respectively.
Though the Federal Capital Territory is not rated among the 36 states of the federation, its external debt profile for 2018 is $31.848 million (N11.465 billion), while the domestic debt is N164.245 billion, bringing a total of its external and domestic debts to N175.710 billion.
The report is coming at a time when several states in the country are backward in terms of internally generated revenue to execute projects that would touch lives apart from the fact that most of these states rely heavily on handouts from the monthly federal allocations from the Federation Account Allocation Committee.
Recall that Economic Confidential recently published a report detailing each states’ revenue generation profile in comparison to their federal allocations and concluded that many states cannot survive without federation accounts, a development regarded as a misnomer in the current economic realities.