Aaargh! It’s one of those days when you wake up and wonder what you ate the previous night to give you this stupendously woozy feeling in the head. When the mind tries to kill you with guilt for slurping that hearty soup and chopsticking the most incredible stir fried beef with bright green broccoli florets and chili. The heart attempts to counterattack but it knows it is under pressure right now because you let it be!
High Blood Pressure (HBP) rarely comes with symptoms, however those who know their numbers would instantly know when they are experiencing high frequencies of systolics and diastolics. Consumption of high salt food items leads to increased fluid in the blood, fluid levels that the kidneys are unable to flush out, eventually leading to HBP. Processed foods, zesty salad dressings, scrumptious white bread, crunchy cereals, sauces, condiments and canned veggies are some of the high alert items. Other high alert names sadly and shamefully are restaurant food and take-aways. Flavour enhancing seasoning, commonly and shamelessly used in all restaurants, play a role in fluid retention and in return hypertension and HBP.
Sodium is one of those critters that everyone thinks is unhealthy – kind of like saturated fat – however it is essential to know that a sodium-free lifestyle is not sustainable. This crucial electrolyte maintains balance in the fluid levels of the body hence cannot be eliminated from the diet to control High Blood Pressure. However there are many other factors that can control HBP, agreeably with a greater effect, than just cutting down on salt intake.
A brisk walk, daily, will certainly help more than the obsessive counting of sodium milligrams throughout the day. High stress levels lead to HBP and it may be easier said than done but indulging in some quality “love thy self” time will guarantee that you won’t have to eat insipid and bland food again. And can I happily announce that a decadent, occasional (yes, occasional) treat of dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa content) is known to lower blood pressure and improve the elasticity of blood vessels!
It is also important to note that potassium, yet another critter, is a diuretic and flushes out excess fluid from the blood hence lowering blood pressure; potassium and sodium work together to maintain ideal fluid levels in the blood. So instead of looking for ways to reduce sodium intake, why can we not work on increasing the potassium levels in the body?
Bananas, the yellow nutrition packed fruit, always comes to mind when we think of potassium however most fresh fruits and vegetables contain high levels of this essential critter. Yogurt, beans, baked potatoes, fish, dried fruits, avocados and dark leafy vegetables all contain potassium more than bananas. And my star player for today is coconut water: a high potassium, energizing, exhilarating and hydrating drink.
Heavenly coconut water smoothie
Portions (Serves 1)Whilst coconut water can be sipped on its own, in the recipe below I have combined a creamy avocado, aromatic basil and sweet honey with a dollop of tangy yogurt and coconut water to produce an energizing, high potassium, flirtatiously addictive smoothie. Smoothies are versatile and coconut water can be added to other fruits and veggies to give you a sultry, soothing and invigorating drink that beats the pressure all the way!
1/2 avocado (ripe)
3/4 cup fresh coconut water
1 tbsp. yogurt
1 tsp. honey
2-3 fresh basil leaves
3-4 ice cubes
So what’s the plan?
Put all the above ingredients in a blender, blitz till smooth. Pour in a tall glass and sip away. Aaah heaven!