African food can help the high blood pressure problem in the continent. My husband was in Kenya after his final year of school to do some community service. He has fond memories of the food there. It is not only HIV but also high blood pressure figures in Africa that are rising at an alarming pace. Plenty of healthy foods to lower high blood pressure are easily available, and in great abundance. We have to bring about this awareness of food in an urgent way to take care of public health in the African countries. Locally grown foods will help to correct the high blood pressure causes in Africa.
African Food - Watermelon
Africa has a wide selection of foods that you can eat to help lower your high blood pressure. One of the fruits that has very great potential to lower blood pressure is the watermelon. It is a native central African fruit and is thus widely available in almost all of Africa. Recent research has shown that this ‘summer fun food’ indeed reduces high blood pressure. By drinking watermelon juice after every meal on a daily basis for three weeks, you will have increased a substance in your body called arginine by 22%. Arginine is credited with lowering blood pressure. It also helps to protect your body against myocardial infarction and strokes. You can readily find watermelon with any fruit vendor in Africa and they are normally sold at very low prices.
Studies done by FSU Assistant Professor Arturo Figueroa and Professor Bahram H.Arjmani scientists of the Florida State University suggests that watermelon can be an effective natural weapon against prehypertension, a precursor to cardiovascular disease.
African Food - Cucumber
With its high potassium, magnesium and fibre content cucumber is another food that can help lower your blood pressure, and is widely available across Africa. Cucumbers belong to the same family as watermelon, pumpkin, zucchini and squash vegetables. Cucumber can be eaten fresh or pickled.Cucumber is high in potassium, magnesium and fiber, which helps lower high blood pressure quite significantly. Cucumber is widely available in Africa and can be bought from almost any fruit or vegetable vendor.
Africa has an abundance of whole grains which are wonderful at lowering blood pressure. Such grains include oatmeal and brown rice which are credited with lowering cholesterol levels and blood sugar. These grains should be consumed whole as refining leads to the striping of fiber and makes the grain less useful.
African Food - Olive oil, beans, leafy greens..
Other foods that can help lower your blood pressure and are readily available in Africa include olive oil, skimmed milk which is low in fat but has high concentration of calcium and vitamin D, beans and spinach which are rich in magnesium, dark green leafy vegetables which are high in calcium among many others.
Reduce Salt intake
To obtain maximum benefits from the great foods highlighted above, it is also important to note the foods you need to cut-down on, that could be increasing your blood pressure. Eating lots of salt makes your body store a lot of water for balancing cell composition which in turn increases blood pressure. Doctors recommend 2300mg per day. Which means "take as little as possible". Other foods to avoid include coffee, (which temporarily cause a sharp increase in your blood pressure) refined sugar, fatty foods and alcohol.
High blood pressure could easily lead to stroke if not dealt with in good time. It is important to note that hypertension is as common in urban areas of Africa as it is in the developed countries. This is mainly because most African urban dwellers have adopted western style dietary habits.
Say NO to fast food and salty snacks...
With most salaried urban dwellers opting for more of the western fast foods and high salt foods such as bacon and sausages and fatty snacks such as chips and popcorns, it is not surprising that they are competing with the west in obesity and the problems it causes.
Stick to healthy traditional Foods
So an advice to people in Africa would be to stick to the traditional foods. What your grandmother use to cook. Eat African food which are grown locally, straight from nature, wholesome and fresh and thus avoid high blood pressure. Indian food and Indian recipes do have some influence in Africa. Such foods are traditional and healthy as well.