India is a land of the foodies. As Indians, we often like to indulge in tasty and scrumptious delicacies every now and then. The delicious and delectable foods available are hard to resist and not let us stop at just one serving. This unquenchable urge for the food has made us turn a blind eye when it comes to taking care of our health by eating healthy and nutritious foods. Our uncontrollable diets have become muffled metabolic time bombs and will have bad repercussions on our bodies. To top it all, India is the biggest consumer of sugar in the world and records massive sales of mithai and namkeens on festive occasions. All of this has led India being a home to 65 million diabetics and fetched the crown of being the diabetes capital of the world.
With this, India has a big challenge to face. The good health and well-being of its citizens are at risk with their changing lifestyle of today, which are often accompanied by obesity and can lead to cardiovascular disease (like high blood pressure). The nation is progressing as the communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases have noticed a drop but the rates of non-communicable diseases have risen to epidemic proportions.
How are diabetes and high blood pressure related?
Diabetes and high blood pressure together make a deadly combination. They are serious ailments, often called “silent killers” as they do not exhibit any symptoms and sometimes, people don’t know they are suffering from it.
It is very common among the patients with Type 2 diabetes to experience high blood pressure. Diabetes increases the sugar levels in the body which results in the narrowing of the arteries causing high blood pressure.
The Risk Factor
Uncontrolled diabetes not only increases the chances of high blood pressure. It can also damage the eye blood vessels and cause stroke, heart failure, heart attack, and sometimes, even kidney failure.
A Recent Study
Several studies were conducted in the past which observed high rates of diabetes and high blood pressure in India. A very recent study led by researchers at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health had found that high blood pressure was more prominent among the young adults in India, and the amount of diabetes and high blood pressure among middle-aged and elderly people was high across all the geographical areas and socio-demographic groups. Overall, the prevalence of diabetes was 6.1% among women and 6.5% among men; for high blood pressure, 20% among women and 24.5% among men.
Causes of diabetes and high blood pressure in India
- Consuming high fat or high sodium foods
- Overconsumption of alcohol
- Being lethargic
- Being Overweight
- Genetic transmission
The Do’s & The Dont’s
Things to go for!
Always maintain a healthy weight: Overeating leads to putting on a lot of weight. Doing exercise and shedding even a small pound of weight will help in bringing down sugar levels and blood pressure.
Eat healthy: Healthy eating is essential to stay away from diabetes and high blood pressure. Consuming fruits, vegetables, and whole grains avoiding processed and oily foods is a key to staying healthy.
Exercise: Do exercise for least 30 minutes to keep yourself fit and healthy. It will eventually help in losing excess fats from the body.
Keeping a regular check on your blood pressure is an important aspect of managing diabetes and preventing complications.
Things to avoid!
- Always avoid eating oily and deep-fried foods from the streets
- Alcohol intake
- Excess coffee intake
- Excess table salt
- Avoid eating too many sweets
- Limit the consumption of red meat in your meals
Natural Foods to eat to avoid diabetes and high blood pressure
Balanced Diet is essential to keep diabetes and high blood pressure away. In case you are suffering from these disorders, then adhering to a balanced diet is the next best option available to control diabetes and high blood pressure. The balanced diet should consist of foods which have a low content of sodium, fats, and carbohydrates and a good amount of fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids.
Some of the foods to go for to avoid diabetes and high blood pressure naturally: –
1. Fruits: Fruits rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre have a mellowing effect on the blood sugar levels and help in lowering the blood pressure. Some highly recommended fruits are apples, oranges, guavas, kiwis, avocados, watermelons, papaya, peaches, pears, etc.
2. Vegetables: Vegetables should form an essential part of the diet if you want to stay away from these epidemics or are suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure.They are best when eaten raw, steamed, or baked, and seasoned with herbs. Tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, greens and other vegetables full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals like potassium and magnesium are best-suited for a balanced diet.
3. Grains: Grains are an ideal option to stay away from the risk of having diabetes and high blood pressure as they are naturally low in fat. It can be taken in the form of bread, cereal, brown rice, and pasta but without butter, cheese, and cream.
4. Seeds (Sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.): Seeds are rich in vitamin E, folic acid, protein, magnesium, and fiber. Just a handful of seeds help to lower your blood sugar levels and your blood pressure. Like nuts, they are high in healthy fats, protein and low in digestible carbs which is an ideal nutrient ratio for a diabetes-friendly snack.
5. Celery: Celery is packed with several antioxidants and eating a few celery stalks a day will reduce high blood pressure and help to lower the inflammation caused in the patients with diabetes.
6. Fish: Including fish in the balanced diet three times a week is good for people with diabetes and high blood pressure. Always go for the fish which have omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals in them. Among the best are: Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel, Tuna, Hake, and Mere.
7. Fat-free dairy products: These products have good amount of calcium in them and do not contain as much fat as other products. They keep you away from being overweight while controlling your blood sugar. Always be careful with processed and frozen foods as they usually contain a lot of salt.
8. Eggs: Eggs have the magic of keeping your stomach full for hours. The consumption of eggs on a regular basis reduces the risk of heart diseases, decreases inflammation, and improve insulin sensitivity in the body. Just make sure you eat the complete egg as the nutrients are found in the yolk, not in the white.
9. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: This oil contains antioxidants which reduces inflammation, protect the cells lining your blood vessel, maintains your cholesterol levels and decreases blood pressure. Be vigilant while choosing this oil, as some of the olive oils contain cheaper oils like corn and soy.
10. Nuts: Nuts are good to be a part of the balanced diet to avoid diabetes and high blood pressure. They are low in digestible carbs and high in sugar. They help in reducing blood sugar, insulin, and LDL levels if taken in adequate quantity.
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