Blood pressure is simply defined as the pressure of blood against the walls of the arteries. There are two components in blood pressure - systolic BP and diastolic BP. The systolic BP is the top number and it represents the pressure the heart generates when it pumps blood to the body, while diastolic BP is the lower number, which represents the pressure in blood vessels between heartbeats. High blood pressure is a condition when both the systolic and diastolic BP is raised above acceptable limits and high blood pressure is called hypertension.
What makes high blood pressure so dangerous is that it usually has no discernible symptoms. However, the condition is treatable with the help of medication, exercise and a healthy diet that is low in sodium and fat. There are certain foods and drinks that may help in managing the condition and regulating blood pressure by complimenting the medication.
Benefits Of Whole Grains In Hypertension
Typically, a low sodium diet is recommended for people suffering from hypertension. People with high blood pressure are also advised to switch from refined flours to whole grain flours, as well as include more fruits and vegetables in the diet. Whole grains may actually work wonders when included in a high blood pressure diet.
A 2010 study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, said that following a diet rich in whole grains is as effective as anti-hypertensive medication, as these may reduce blood pressure and in extension, reduce the risk of heart diseases, stroke, heart failure etc.
Here are some whole-grain flours that can be included in the hypertension diet:
1. Whole Wheat Flour
One of the most commonly used flours in India is the whole wheat flour, which is supplied by a number of chakkis. Wheat is ground in fresh and used to prepare rotis and chapatis - whole wheat flatbreads are eaten with vegetarian and non-vegetarian curries. Whole wheat flour contains good amounts of fibers and proteins.
2. Whole Oats Flour
Whole oats can be turned into flour that can be used to prepare a number of dishes- both sweet and savoury. Rolled oats are one of the best varieties of whole-grain oats that you can lay your hands on. All you have to do then is to blitz the oats in a grinder to a fine powder-like consistency and use it instead of refined flour for making breads, pancakes, etc.
3. Buckwheat Flour
Buckwheat is another whole grain that is extremely rich in dietary fiber and proteins. It is also gluten-free and can be consumed by those who have an allergy. The flour can be used to prepare anything, from noodles to breads and snacks like chips and crisps.
4. Barley Flour
Barley, or jau, was one of the first cultivated grains on Earth and this ancient grain has made a comeback. Barley belongs to the grass family, but is widely cultivated as a food grain that is a healthy alternative to refined grains. A 100-gram serving of hulled barley contains a whopping 17 grams of dietary fiber and 12 grams of proteins.
Some people have been known to have allergic reactions to some specific flours. Although these allergic symptoms may rarely show up, it is better to ensure that these grains are safe for you to eat, before including them in your diet.