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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

How to Reduce and Avoid the Risk of Having Hypertension in Nigeria?


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Deborah Akinola
Wirter, poet and public speaker

Hypertension has been seen to be one of the fastest killing diseases in Nigeria today. One of the deadliest things about hypertension is the impact of it and how sudden its impact can hit not to talk about how harmful the impact can be on the human being.


Hypertension can be described as the state of a patient having an abnormally high blood pressure or a state of severe stress on the body causing the blood pressure of the patient to skyrocket beyond the normal physiological range of the body.

In Nigeria today, hypertension has been seen to be on the increase, and the reason for that is not farfetched. An average Nigerian undergoes severe stress and gets little or no opportunity to relax during the day and to make matters worse, most Nigerians have a very unhealthy way of living, and all these factors have contributed in no small measure to the ever-increasing numbers of Nigerians living with hypertension.

However, even with the harsh living conditions that most Nigerians face, there are still ways by which a person can actively avoid getting his or her blood pressure shot up beyond the body’s physiological limit.

One significant way by which Africans most especially Nigerians have been able to avoid hypertension is through the use of natural preventive measures. Africans have been blessed with many natural herbs which when combined successfully can help manage hypertension as well as keep its increasing numbers at bay.

For one to successfully manage hypertension, one key factor you must consider is your feeding habits. Yes, I mean your daily intake of food. Asides the severe stress that the body undergoes, an unhealthy diet will in no small measure contribute to increasing growth the risk you will face.

Majority of Nigerians do eat on the go and by this, I mean we eat any and everything we see ranging from snacks to soda to oily foods and as such we lose the ability to regulate our calories and as well our body weight, and this is a major contributing factor to the increase of hypertension among our race.

To properly ensure that we can reduce our risk of becoming hypertensive, we must first regulate our feeding habits as well as our intake of sodas and all other unhealthy materials we take into our bodies all in the name of “enjoyment”. Remember, what we consider as enjoyment is what I like to term “death in a fancy suit”.

To best regulate our blood pressure, weight gain and calorie intake, the following steps will help facilitate the process.

1. Reduce the quantity of salt in your meal

You would agree with me that an average Nigerian cannot do without the intake of salt in their food. While salt is good, too much of it will earn you a first class ticket to the plane of hypertension.


If we aren’t adding salt to our food, we add seasoning, and as some of us would like to do, we basically combine both in excess and this is to the detriment of the body. If you must add salt, ensure that you use very little and if you must combine both salt and seasoning, ensure that the combination is to a minimal amount.

You may be wondering why salt. Well, salt or as we like to call it sodium chloride is a very tricky compound. Using salt increases the sodium levels in your body, and whether we like it or not, sodium has an impact on almost every of our body systems.

When in excess, it can cause the retention of water and body fluids in our bloodstream which in turn will increase the blood pressure of the body and as such cause the patient to have the risk of developing hypertension.

2. Include garlic, ginger, fish and fish oil in your diet

Garlic and ginger are natural herbs that have been seen to have positive effects on the general body systems including the blood pressure of the body. These herbs have helped in bring down the blood sugar of the body as well as the person’s blood pressure which in turn helps keep the patient from hypertension.

Fish and fish oil contain good proteins and fatty acids. Fish oil contains a large amount of the omega 3 fatty acids, and these components are what I like to call healthy fats. If you are in fear of being obese or your blood pressure is already dangerously close to the edge of the physiological range, then you must introduce the natural herbs as well as the fish oil to help bring your blood pressure back to the normal range.

3. Regulate your sugar intake

The harmful effects of sugar on the body cannot be overemphasized. Sugar has direct relations with your weight level as well as your calorie intake and as such also have a connection with your blood pressure.

Too much of everything they say is bad, and this also includes sugar. If you must take sugar, limit it to the minimum. One thing Nigerians must realise is that the end product of the digestion of carbohydrate is sugar and water.

The principal food of Nigerians and Africans as a whole is carbohydrate, and this increases our chances of having a high sugar level, a high-calorie level, weight gain as well as hypertension. Can you see how many diseases that is?

To also make matters worse, the majority of Nigerians enjoy eating on the go. We love snacks, sweets, biscuits and soda. All of which contains refined sugar which is even the unhealthy kind of sugar and as such increase our sugar level in the body and indirectly increase our blood pressures as well.

In order to ensure that you are safe, stay away from fast foods. If you must take them, reduce the quantity and the frequency at which you take them.


4. Introduce fruits into your diet

Some may argue that fruits do contain sugar; however, the sugar that most fruits contain isn’t refined sugar. In fact, the sugar that most fruits contain is the healthy kind, and this is the kind that the body needs.

Introduce fruits into your diets. You can even decide on a mixture of fruits making a fruit salad hence earning you appetizers for each day. This will help regulate your weight gain, eliminate the unhealthy sugar in your body, reduce your risk of hypertension, as well as make your skin glow and you will look fresher and younger as the day goes by.

5. Avoid sodas

Sodas are like a plague and if you must reduce your risk of hypertension, run away from them. Swap your intake of soda with water as water has zero calories. This will help you watch your weight gain and by extension reduce your chances of developing hypertension.

6. Introduce the intake of certain minerals into your diet

The consumption of potassium, calcium and magnesium is very essential to your daily diet and generally your body welfare. To regulate your blood pressure, you must ensure that you ingest foods which contain these minerals. Foods like dry peas, green leafy vegetables, avocados, nuts, seeds, and fruits must be included in our diet, and these categories of food are easily seen on the Nigerian Market.

7. Never forget your exercises

Majority of us Nigerians don’t like exercises, and that also includes me. But do you know that there are ways we do exercises without even having to put an effort? Instead of that daily morning jog, if you are the type that doesn’t like jogging, you can substitute for walking.

Instead of taking your car to every destination, take a walk. Instead of jumping the motorcycle at the junction of your house, take a walk to cover a bit of the distance before flagging down that bike.

While in the office, instead of taking the elevators, use the stairs. All these activities are exercises, and as such you increase your heart rate and lower your blood pressure and by extension avoiding hypertension.

In conclusion, hypertension, though a deadly and a rampant disease in Nigeria today can be avoided if we decide to put in an effort and reduce our “deaths in a fancy suit” which we otherwise term as enjoyment.

Prevention they say is better than a cure. Hypertension has no cure, but it can be managed. Better still, it can be avoided if we decide to change our lifestyle. Try it today.

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