chfitnessCardiovascular conditions and disease like heart disease, arteriosclerosis, congestive heart failure, heart attack and stroke are all grievous, possibly life-threatening diseases that are likely the result of years of unhealthy eating combined with sedentary lifestyles.

Hypertension, or what is more commonly known as “high blood pressure” is a serious condition affecting one out of every three adults in the US alone and the most important risk factor for premature cardiovascular disease… and yet the scariest thing of all is that only half of those with the condition are actually treated for it.

When your arteries get congested with plaque the result is hypertension or high blood pressure….causing your heart to work harder. Most arterial plaque is diet-derived and commonly stems from saturated fats, Trans fats and dietary cholesterol intake in addition to overeating in general.

This dangerous “silent killer” goes undetected for years (it has no symptoms) and then suddenly shows up as a fatal heart attack or stroke.

Untreated this dangerous disease causes damage to healthy blood vessels which in turn can eventually cause issues such as impaired vision, kidney failure, stroke, heart attack or heart failure.

Studies have shown that dietary and lifestyle changes can make a significant difference in the prevention of high blood pressure.

The primary risks contributing to hypertension are:

Carrying around excess weight/being heavy or obese in size

Consuming too much sodium or too little potassium or vitamin D

Too much alcohol

Lack of exercise

A healthy, balanced diet is one of the most efficient tools towards combating heart disease.

Simple steps to keep your blood pressure healthy:

Limit alcohol intake: Share an evening glass of wine with friends is wonderful but men should limit themselves to no more than 2 drinks daily while women should cap it at one drink daily.

Physical Activity: 30-45 minutes is recommended on most days for both men and women.

Avoid Tobacco: This does not even need explanation. Smoking is not good for your body. Period.

Adopt a Low Sodium Diet: Start checking labels and choose foods that are minimally processed.

Increased Intake of Calcium, Potassium, and Magnesium: Potassium and sodium work together to regulate water balance in the body. This combination helps maintain normal blood pressure. Leafy green vegetables and other foods rich in potassium such as carrots and potatoes should be enjoyed on a regular basis and eaten daily if possible. Increasing your magnesium and calcium can have positive blood pressure lowering benefits. Many raw vegetables are naturally high in potassium and calcium and low in fat and sodium. They are always a good choice towards keeping your blood pressure healthy.

Limit your intake of saturated fats and fried foods. You’ll need to cut back on sugars, saturated fats (found in fatty meats, cheese, butter and eggs) and fried foods (trans fats found in shortening, margarine, fried foods and processed snack foods…all increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Nutrient Dense Foods: Should fill your plate…fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes and other lean protein sources all have the power to decrease your risk of hypertension. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna or mackerel should be included for the omega-2 fatty acids they contribute (heart-healthy fats the body needs).

Hypertension is a deadly condition that has no preference and can occur at any age but the health risks rise as one ages. It has nothing at all to do with personality traits…those with the condition can still appear calm and relaxed. To forestall or reduce hypertension your diet must include a variety of healthy foods such as fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean protein sources.

Remember, you can’t wait for symptoms to show up because this “silent killer” comes on suddenly.

Those at risk for hypertension are also at increased risk of stroke, renal failure, heart attack and coronary failure isn’t it time you started taking proactive steps to make sure this “silent” but deadly killer stays at bay?

For more tools and resources to assist you in attaining your goals and achieving the success you desire in life, please visit: Carolyn Hansen Fitness. I help clients take charge of their health before circumstance removes the option. If your quest for peak performance living is a journey I’ll put you in the driver’s seat.”