Friday, September 4, 2009

Food Allergies Can be Fatal - Be Careful

Have you ever experienced an immediate skin reaction like severe rashes or chronic asthmatic attack as soon as you have a piece of pineapple or any other food item? Well, what you're suffering from is simply Food Allergy.


This condition can be observed in anybody irrespective to their age or sex. Basically food allergy is caused when our immune system, who is responsible to keep our body free from any kind of infections, fails to produce enough amounts of antibodies to destroy the harmful toxins/bacteria. And thus end up giving us the allergy reaction.

Remember food allergy is different from food poisoning or food intolerance (lactose intolerance/milk intolerance).As all of the symptoms of food allergy occur within a few minutes to an hour of eating a smallest bite/piece of allergens. A food allergy can initially be experienced as an itching in the mouth and difficulty in swallowing and breathing. Incidentally, the gastrointestinal symptoms of food allergy are very much similar to the symptoms of different types of food intolerance. But food intolerance symptoms are very mild and not immediate (and are mainly due to insufficiency of a particular enzyme or chemical required for digestion like in lactose intolerance) and life threatening while in case of allergy, it can be fatal if not treated quickly. Remember food allergy is not common but can be serious if ignored.

Management of Food Allergy

Now its not possible for a person who is allergic to particular food items to take medications every time he consumes his meal therefore one can opt for some precautions. Some of the precautionary measures one can take care of are:

1.The first and the most important step is as soon as one observes or suspects any kind of food allergy or intolerance, immediately visit your family GP to make a correct diagnosis and start a treatment.

2.In case of allergic children parents should not try to Panic otherwise even the child might get scared and may revolt/repulse to the given treatment.

3.Talk to your child’s school teachers and to the parents of playmates about the child’s allergies and its precautions like letting them know about the foods your child is allergic to and its medications or the first aid that can be given at the sudden allergy reactions.

4.Always keep an identity card in your child’s pocket with his name, address, list of food allergies from which your child suffers, guardian’s contact details, family physician’s contact details, so that in case of emergency it can be used.

5.Try and go for complete avoidance of allergy causing foods. But it's important that if foods are excluded from the diet suitable alternatives should be introduced to avoid any nutrient deficiencies. For this one can contact a dietitian /nutritionist who can offer practical advice (diet) about how to achieve this.

6.Person suffering from severe allergies should always read the food labels carefully before buying any kind of ready to eat food stuff from the market.

7.When in restaurants, keep it simple and avoid anything that is unknown. Or ask for a detailed composition (about the ingredients being used) of the dish if trying a new recipe.

8.Arm yourself with enough knowledge so that the food allergic person can be constantly vigilant about what they eat, and what they need to avoid.

9.Infact one can also go for food intolerance tests as a precaution and get know about its intolerances beforehand.

10.If one is unsure whether one has an allergy or hypersensitivity, withdraw the food for two weeks, than reintroduce it to see if one has a reaction.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Stay Healthy - This Rains

In the months of June, July we await for our favorite season – Rainy Season. This monsoon not only relieves us from scorching heat but also brings along a set of problems and diseases that can result into serious complications if not paid attention.

The rainy season is notorious for bringing with it a host of viral, fungal and food borne illnesses that can range from simple cold, cough, and fever to stomach pain, diarrhea, food poisoning and gastroenteritis.

Foodborne illness generally results from consuming food or drink contaminated with pathogenic/harmful bacteria, viruses or toxins. Foodborne illness can occur from any fresh or processed foods consumed in a range of settings such as homes, restaurants, large catering establishments, schools and institutions. It often produces symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhoea, or fever. The symptoms are often caused by various sources like the unhygienic food, unhygienic surfaces, location or the food handler itself. This usually makes it hard to tell that illness is caused by food or from any other sources. Symptoms can take between a few hours to a few days to develop and may last for a few days, depending on the type of pathogen.Many people have mild symptoms and recover within a few days. However, if symptoms persist for more than 3 days or are very severe one should seek medical advice to the earliest. In many cases the effects of foodborne illness are only mild but in rare cases, foodborne illness can result in long-term health problems and even death. Some people who are extremely vulnerable, no matter what type of pathogen are involved. These include:

Very young children, infants
Pregnant women
The elderly and
People with compromised immune systems.

Your Line of Defense

1. One of the most common sources of infection during rainy season is water. Do not consume tap water directly. One should always drink water after boiling, filtering or by using commercially available reverse osmosis purifiers.

2. Avoid eating uncooked food during this season. If one really wants to have salads then make your salads when you are ready to eat them. Fruits and vegetables cut up and left to stand, lose vitamins and catch up pathogens.

3.When buying eggs, open the carton and inspect each egg for cleanliness. Make sure the eggs have no cracks or thinness in the shells. Eating raw eggs are another risky food and should be avoided at all costs. Similarly select cheese that is fresh and has no unusual mold or discolored spots. Dairy products should be dated and pasteurized.

4. Use healthy hygiene. This means washing your hands and doing it frequently. A good rule of thumb is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. It's also important to keep the kitchen sink, drain, and counter tops clean and disinfected before any food preparation. Make sure your cutting boards and utensils are cleaned by warm, soapy water. Change dish towels every alternate day. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables in running tap water to remove visible dirt and grime. Rewash apples, pears, or oranges before eating even if you washed them prior to placing them in the fruit bowl. Remove and discard the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage. Because bacteria can grow well on the cut surface of fruit or vegetable.

5. Don't cross-contaminate one food with another.Put cooked meat on a clean plate, rather back on one that held the raw meat. Store raw foods in covered or sealed containers below other ready-to-eat foods inside the refrigerator to prevent food parts and meat juice/veg curries spilling or dripping on to other food. Always cover foods before storage in the refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards to protect them from contamination. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food, and leftovers within 2 hours.

6. Keep cold food cold and hot food hot.

7.Maintain hot cooked food at 140°F or higher.

8. Reheat cooked food to at least 165°F.

9. Never defrost food on the kitchen counter. Use the refrigerator, cold running water, or the microwave oven.

10.Never let food marinate at room temperature—refrigerate it.

11. Avoid eating outside during rains.Avoid roadside stall foods as it might be source of harmful bacteria (Source can be unhygienic food handler,dirty surfaces,uncleaned veggies or utensils).

Friday, April 10, 2009

Try some Summer Foods-This Season

Eat to Hydrate Yourself this Summer

You’ve probably heard those narrators on the National Geographic specials say things like "Water gives life" or "Without water there could be no life." They’re overly dramatic,but they are right.

Women need about 2.5 liters or 9 cups of fluid daily while men require about 12 cups--just to replace what's naturally lost to perspiration, exhalation, respiration and excretion.Remember we begin to get dehydrated and our performance drops off with just as much as a 2% water loss.But if you have a difficult time in meeting your fluid needs and gulping down these liters of water then EAT to hydrate yourself.

CUCUMBER – Cucumber‘s 96% of weight is water. It is one of the best ways to keep oneself hydrated. Cucumber juice is nourishing for the skin. Its liquid has the reputation of being rejuvenator and makes us feel and look young.

WATERMELONS –Watermelon can be a great thirst quencher in summer. Water content of this fruit is approx 92%. Therefore it can be good filler for the people looking out for weight loss. Blend chunks of watermelon with few ice cubes and slash some lime juice in it. Have with fresh mint leaves. It is also considered as a rich source in Vitamin B6.This Vitamin B6 is an important attribute to have in a healthy diet because it promotes chemicals in the brain that help people to cope with anxiety and panic.

TOMATOES - 91% of tomatoes is water.It is the most availed source of water which can easily be afforded by rich and poor.

CITRUS FRUITS LIKE ORANGES, SWEETLIME AND GRAPEFRUIT - The water content of these fruits is not less than 88%. They are an excellent source of vitamin C-just one orange supply 116.2% of the daily value for vitamin C. these colorful fruits help to increase the resistance power of the body. Always eat fresh fruit instead of drinking citrus fruit juices as juices are often sweetened with refined sugars while fresh fruits have natural sugars and fibre which is very essential for our body.

CELERY - Celery is not only rich in fluid but also electrolytes like potassium and sodium, the minerals most important for regulating fluid balance, stimulates urine production, thus helping to rid the body of excess fluid.

CURDS – this food product also qualifies as a rich source of water as its moisture content is not less than 88g in 100 grams of curds. One should try including curds in every meal. It can be in any form like buttermilk, salad dip, khadi, raita etc. Those who are lactose-intolerant can consume yogurt, as bacteria present in it breaks down the lactose before it enters your body.

There are various ways to include the above foods in our diet. They can be used in salads, soups and stews to help satisfy our body's thirst; for dessert, try sorbets, custards or fresh fruit. But make sure to include these foods in your daily diet to meet your fluid needs.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Take control on Diabetes – This New Year 2009

You may find it difficult to keep up with your diet and exercise routine during some time , but as a diabetic, diet and exercise go hand in hand. One has to prepare a “to do list” and make sure one follows it.

People with diabetes need to have a diabetic diet with a good balance of nutrition and taste. Here are some estimates for over the course of a day:

 About 15% to 20% of calorie intake should come from protein. Prescribing high protein works here as metabolism of protein is slower as compared to glucose, therefore there will be less available glucose in the body.
 Roughly 15% to 20% of calorie intake should be from fat. Consume more of unsaturated fats than saturated ones.
 About 60% to 70% of the calorie intake should be from carbohydrates. Include more of complex carbohydrates than simple ones as they breakdown more slowly to release glucose. Avoid refined foods like maida, arrowroot, sago, fruit juices etc. Eat lots of green and orange vegetables like carrots and broccoli in your day.

Dietary tips:

Decrease Fat in the diet. Roast, bake, or broil instead of frying. Trim the fat off meat and the skin off poultry, and avoid adding fat in cooking. Beware of sauces and gravies. They often contain lots of fat. Try consuming broths instead of creamy soups. Eliminate or cut down on high-fat foods like cold cuts, bacon, sausage, hot dogs, butter, margarine, nuts, and salad dressings like mayonnaise. Drink skim or low-fat milk instead of whole milk.
Increase Fibre in your meals. Including 40gms of dietary fibre daily is beneficial. Switch to whole-grain breads, cereals and crackers. One can have whole cereals like buck wheat, barley, ragi and oats, leafy vegetables, beans and whole pulses. Choose multi –grain bread and brown rice instead of white bread and basamati rice.
Reduce Sugar. Don't eat table sugar. Avoid adding sugar to the beverages like tea, coffees, cereals etc. Avoid honey, syrup, jam, jelly, candy, sweet rolls, regular gelatin, cake with icing, and pie. Instead of fruit canned in syrup, choose fresh fruit.
Hydrate your body. Drink at least 10 – 12 glasses of water everyday. Start your morning with a glass of lukewarm water.
Alcohol should be restricted and if allowed, then should be taken only occasionally in moderation .Alcohol has high carbohydrate content for example beer contains about 60gms of carbohydrates per litre. Sweet wines and cider have high sugar content while whisky and gin although are free from carbohydrates, provide 70calories for every 30ml.
Cooking method employed on any food also affects the blood sugar levels. Foods cooked by dry and short time methods like roasting have lesser glycemic effect as compared to foods cooked by boiling and long cooking processes which reduce particle size. Preparations like roasted chanas, chapattis, sprouted dals and whole fruits are better than boiled rice, khichadi, washed dals and fruit juices.
Be A Horse, Not A Camel - Horses need food and water throughout the day, but camels can go a long time without either. One should eat more like a horse, eating meals at regular scheduled time. But many of us now eat like camels: We skip breakfast, sometimes lunch, and then hit it hard at dinner. Diabetics should eat regular scheduled meals throughout the day so they're not going without food for more than four to five hours. By doing so, they improve their blood sugar control.
Eat slowly. Sometimes one have to rush the food down because one is late for work or late for an appointment, but if one eats slowly one will enjoy the food more, will feel a little more satisfied, and the body can honestly tell, "Hey, I'm full, no need to finish that whole plate of food". If one eats too quickly the body doesn't have time to send the message that one is full and he/she end up eating more.
Remember to eat healthy before going to any parties. Your host or hostess may not know of your dietetic needs and you really don’t want to put the pressure on them. If needed ask if they mind if you can bring something. Or one can eat a bowl of oats/ vegetable raita and leave.
Try and maintain your ideal body weight. Overweight people are more prone to hyperglycemia. Basal metabolic rate decreases as the age increases therefore do not set very high goals for yourself. Try to have a balanced diet. Do not go on starvation or crash diets to lose weight as its effect may reverse.

Physical Activity

Follow these few simple opportunities to enhance both your physical and mental well being.
1. Take the stairs at the mall and not the escalator. The first benefit one can enjoy is avoid some of the crowds and then at the same time one also exercises their lower body muscles while climbing the staircase. Most people during this time of year favor escalators and elevators.
2. Have to deliver paperwork to someone in your office? Take the stairs. There one has more exercise in their day and improve ones attitude too.
3. Park your car little further away at your work. It is a very good way to add bit of exercise in your daily schedule.
4. Walk the mall a few times before you begin your ‘shopping’. Just another way of building up exercise and releasing the ever present holiday tension.
5. Get involved in daily activities like gardening (water plants), walk your pet like a dog, wash the car or bike on weekends.
6. Enjoy in a park or beach playing various sports like football, or cricket or volleyball /frisbee. These sports are not only good source of exercise but also a good stress buster.
7. Lastly schedule your meditation time. Meditation is a necessity during these stressful times. Remember you are important. It will help to keep you calm , composed and relaxed.

Simple and easy life style can keep you healthy and happy. Afterall “Health is wealth” proverb was not made in a day. Every disease has its cure, so live a balance and stress-free life. Have a safe and sane 2009 ahead.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Glowing soft skin – The Healthy Diet way

What do you first observe when you first see yourself in the mirror… black spot near your beautiful eyes or a new born bump turning into acne on your forehead? There is so much emphasis given to physical appearance in today’s times and why not? .After all “Looking good” is equal to “Feeling good” “Being more confident”.Every woman dream is to have a glowing and soft skin. A fortune is spent on cosmetics to have the desired effect.

So why not look out for a way to enhance our looks without getting bankrupt. Yes! There are some very simple natural and cheap ways to the destination of beauty. Lets understand the causes of acne followed with some dos and don’t.

What Causes Acne?
The exact cause of acne is unknown, but dermatologists believe it results from several related factors.
• One important factor is an increase in hormones called androgens (male sex hormones). These increase in both boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. Hormonal changes related to pregnancy or starting or stopping birth control pills can also cause acne.
• Another factor is heredity or genetics. For example, studies have shown that many school-age boys with acne have a family history of the disorder.
• Certain drugs, including androgens and lithium are known to cause acne.
• Greasy cosmetics may block the pores and unable them to breathe oxygen .Lack of oxygen may lead to acne.
• However, there are some researches blaming the diet of a person — eating refined carbohydrates and sugar leads to a surge in insulin. This in turn leads to an excess of male hormones, which encourage the skin to excrete large amounts of sebum. This grease-like substance encourages the growth of bacteria responsible for acne. Therefore the scientists believe the modern Western diet is one of the major causes. The simple formula is:
refined carbs/sugar = more insulin = more hormones = more sebum (oil) = more bacteria = more acne

The conclusion is our body needs complete nutrition to promote healthy skin and to prevent acne. The fact is, people with imbalanced diet are deficient in vitamins, minerals and herbs due to fast food diet. The nutrients are powerful antioxidants that flush out free radicals and toxins from our body. It helps to detox the body. Some even have antibacterial effects and promote immunity. Vitamins are important in keeping the pores clean and in healing the damaged skin tissue.

Excess consumption of REFINED AND SUGARY FOODSExcess consumption of sugary foods like chocolate, sweets etc is one of the main cause of acne. Refined and tinned foods are huge skin sinners. A diet that is high in sugar may make your system even more susceptible to bacterial infections, which may further aggravate spots and other skin conditions. Instead have wheat bread, oats and other grains instead. Substitute white rice with brown rice, chickpeas and lentils. Alternate white sugar with honey or brown sugar.
Excess consumption of fatty foods can cause sluggish digestion, cloudy thinking and stimulate the sebaceous glands to secrete more oil leading to an oily skin. While eating spicy foods can also lead to acidity .A diet high in fried foods, butter, cheese, pickles, fried papad etc are also low in fibre thus making it tougher for the body to clear wastes. One should substitute spice with some ginger and herbs which may stimulate digestion and help to subside acidity.
Excess of TEA AND COFFEEWomen who drink a lot of tea, coffee, cola, hot chocolate and any kind of aerated drinks are more likely to have tired-looking skin and suffer from conditions such as greasy skin and spots. This is because these drinks contain caffeine, which increases the excretion of vitamins and minerals from the body. Try to drink not more than two cups of coffee, tea or other caffeine containing drinks a day.
Excess ALCOHOL INTAKE Excessive alcohol intakes may lead to skin problems such as split veins. Alcoholic beverages are diuretic and increase the water loss from the body leading to a very dehydrated skin. Dehydrated skin can develop wrinkles very easily. In fact many women are allergic to hard drinks and may develop rash. Avoid having alcohol as much as possible.
Excess/Chain SMOKINGNicotine does not help to keep a healthy skin. It attacks the blood vessels that feed the skin with nutrients and oxygen, as well as those that drain away the waste products from the skin. At the same time your skin also suffers from lack of oxygen. Result - aging effect to the skin.
Drink plenty of WATERDrink at least 2 litres of mineral water daily. Drinking plenty of water helps reduce acne by flushing toxins out of your system and keeping your kidneys, liver and bowel functioning effectively. A sluggish digestive system is often linked to acne. Drinking plenty of water will keep your insides healthy. Water will also help keep your skin supple and hydrated. Dehydrated skin can become dry and flaky, the skin's natural exfoliation slows down and pores become blocked which in turn can cause spots.
Feed yourself with plenty of ANTIOXIDANTS Include loads of yellow and orange colour foods eg Carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow and orange bell peppers, oranges, tangerines, mangoes, papayas and apricots. These foods are rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin A .Vitamin C is highly beneficial to skin and responsible for an efficient immune system. Vitamin C promotes and protects collagen and helps us fighting back any kind of infections. Collagen provides support and elasticity to your skin thus delaying the onset of wrinkles. It acts as cement in our skin.
 Eat atleast 50gms of Greens per day. One can have veggies like Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, green bell peppers, kale, kiwi and spinach. These greens are rich in iron. It’s said that ladies having iron deficient diet mainly have dark circles.
 Berries like Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, beets, plums, and red grapes are a great source of polyphenols, antioxidants that are known for their anti-aging capabilities and for providing pink glow to the skin.
 Include herbal teas. Green tea is one of the delicious ways to include antioxidants in any diet. Having 2 cups of this green tea can do wonders to the skin. Its polyphenols may be 100 times more effective than Vitamin C and 25 times more effective than Vitamin E. Infact you can also include lemon (Vitamin C rich)and ginger tea (improves digestion)in your diet for its varied health benefits.
Women having flaky and dry skin require good fats to have a desired soft texture. One should use oils rich in poly and monounsaturated fats like sesame, mustard and olive oil for cooking to overcome dryness. These oils are at the same time very heart friendly as they contain good amount of omega 3 fatty acids.
Eat loads of FIBRE CONTAINING FOODSFibre helps to promote the digestive process and remove toxins from the body leading to a clear spot free skin. Daily intake of fibre should be atleast 25 – 35gms per day. You can include foods like oats, barley, ragi, bajra, whole wheat grains, different variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. These cereals are also rich in B vitamins, which aid new skin-cell growth.
Binge on VITAMIN E RICH FOODSDaily dose of Vitamin E is a basic requirement to have a glowing smooth skin. Vitamin E, an antioxidant helps to prevent cellular damage by preventing the formation of free radicals. Vitamin E also enhances healing and tissue repair process .It slows down the cellular aging thus prevent wrinkle formation. Vitamin E is found naturally in almonds, asparagus, avocados, fishes, Brazil nuts, broccoli, canola oil, corn, cottonseed oil, fortified cereals, hazelnuts, soy bean oil, spinach, sunflower seeds, walnuts, wheat germ and wheat germ oil. The flesh of a ripe avocado soothes sunburn skin. Just cut the fruit in half and rub it gently over the affected areas. Infact avocado paste can easily be applied on a rough and dry skin to make it smooth.
Adopt a regular exercise routine. Exercise benefits skin as it boosts circulation and encourages blood flow. Regular exercise will nourish and cleanse your skin from within. However, it is always better to check with your doctor before you start any kind of exercise program. Regular change in your activity schedule helps to avoid boredom. Jog for couple of days, play squash, hit the gym or go for a swim the other day. Always keep looking out for new activities.
Adequate RESTOne should sleep for atleast 6 – 7 hours. Getting sufficient sleep is very important as the skin's cellular repair activity works at its optimum during this resting period. Irregular sleep and stress can also cause dark circles.

Try to make these few modifications a part of your daily routine and enhance your natural beauty.

Pamper your skin without spending a bomb and get an inner and outer makeover.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Diwali Dhamaka - Low Cal Festive Delights

Low Cal Festive Delights

Festive season is come, October- November is welcomed. As the festive atmosphere sets in, the days seem to be shorter. Festivals (Diwali) bring light, happiness, togetherness, warmth, noise and also calories…. lots of sweets and delicacies.

During this period we all seem to be in a holiday mood. We don’t mind feasting without thinking of rebalancing it. Festivals are often used as excuses to laze around, skip the exercise routine and just party. This happens as most of us suffer from lack of time and lack of our favorite food, in any case during these festivals if prefer to treat ourselves and binge.

Few ways to kick off those extra calories that might peep in your diet during festive parties and get-togethers.

1.Since during this festive time parties is one thing that cannot be avoided, one should plan ahead .One should partially fill his/her stomach before stepping out of the house. Now this can be done by having a bowl of soup or a bowl of mix fruits. And if you are going in a restaurant plan your menu before walking in. Always watch out for hidden fats. Creamy soups, white breads, flaky pastries and mayonnaise – based salad dressings add unnecessary fats to the food. Try consuming broths instead of creamy soups.

2.Eat healthy foods first. Eat foods that are healthy and low in calories first so that when it comes time to enjoy your favorites — sweets or junk food— you won't be so hungry. For example you can always search or ask for green salad in a party to be brought to the table before the main course. Instead of mayonnaise dressing use variety of condiments and flavoring agents such as lemon, vinegar, herbs, onion and garlic to improve the palatability of your salad. Remember, a gram of fat contains more than twice as many calories as a gram of protein or carbohydrate.

3.Look out for alternatives. Ask for grilled, baked, boiled or broiled food rather fried foods. In place of fries or fried onion rings, order corn on the cob, green beans or baked beans.

4.Pay attention to portions. Serve meals already dished onto plates. Take slightly less than what you think you'll eat. You can always have seconds, if really necessary.

5.Instead of cake or pastries, fresh fruits with yogurt and honey dressing or just a mix bowl of fresh fruits can be an ideal dessert.

6.Replenish the body with water. Drink at least 2 glasses of water before and after you start your main meal. You can also call for an unsweetened fruit juice or vegetable juice with your main meals.

7.Weigh yourself regularly. Monitoring your weight can tell you whether your efforts are working and can help you detect small weight gains before they become even larger.

I would suggest you to try some innovative ways to feast with out missing out the festive fun. Here is a low cal sweet dish recipe for you which you and your guest can enjoy without any guilt.

Low cal Indian Dessert (Festive Delight)

Fat Free Shahi Tukhda

Brown Bread – 2 slice
Milk – 150ml
Sugar – 1- 11/2 tp
Almond- 2 nos
Grounded Cinnamon – For garnishing

1. Cut each slice of Brown bread into 4 pieces.
2. Toast it in a toaster.
3. Dissolve sugar in the milk. Now dip each toasted piece of bread in the sweet milk and remove.
4. Garnish it with cinnamon. Place a piece of almond in the centre.
5. Keep in the refrigerator for some time. Serve it cold.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hypertension – A Slow Poison

Can youth suffer from high blood pressure? No way!! High blood pressure is just for old people!

If this is what you believe, you are not totally different from most of the people in this planet who associate hypertension or high blood pressure with aging. You also probably wouldn't believe that one in 5 youngsters is suffering from this incommunicable disease! This may sound odd to you but this is an unfortunate fact.

In the 21st century, most of the parts of our society are affected by this condition. Nowadays it is best for the parents to get their and their teens blood pressures checked every once in a while. It will be a very critical step in ensuring the health of your kids.

What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is defined as the pressure or force your blood exerts against your blood vessels as the heart pumps. The pressure typically rises as your heart pumps (systolic pressure) and falls when the heart relaxes (diastolic pressure). The normal blood pressure for a normal adult should be 120 over 80 mm Hg. A blood pressure reading of 140 over 90 mm Hg, on the other hand, can already be considered high.
There are no specific symptoms to discover this condition. Many times one comes to know about his high blood pressure incidentally during an unrelated medical examination. This state of raised blood pressure can remain dormant for years with out one feeling any major symptoms till they become very serious. This dormant state later can manifest with complications like heart diseases (angina, stroke, myocardial infarction) and kidney diseases. Therefore hypertension is known as a “Silent killer”.

Still the most common symptoms observed when the blood pressure rises are headaches, dizziness, impaired vision and gastrointestinal disturbances. However the extent of symptoms depends upon the rise and the length of time this condition is present.
Blood pressure can be influenced by a number of factors. Among these are the degree of rest, physical activity or stress, heredity, a person eating habits, lifestyle, emotions and medications being taken.

Here are some ways to get control of this blood pressure:
Dos for hypertensive people

Strive to maintain your weight height ratio. Basal metabolic rate decreases as the age increases therefore do not set very high goals for yourself. Try to have a balanced diet. Do not go on starvation or crash diets to lose weight as its effect may reverse.
Always concentrate on the quality of food then the quantity. In a diet the ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fat for hypertensive people is an important consideration. eg protein should contribute 20% from the total energy, fat – 15% and rest can come from carbohydrates.
In case of carbohydrates, emphasis on foods high in complex carbohydrates such as dietary fibre rather than simple sugars (any kind of processed, preserved or fast foods- pasta/noodles etc). Increase fibre in your diet by including lots of fruits and salads. Make sure that you have at least two fruits per day.
Since you are hypertensive, decrease the intake of salt/sodium. Avoid using more than 2 – 3grams of salt per day .However the extent of salt restriction depends on the rise of blood pressure. Try to have at least a bowl of salad before dinner without salt. You can add a variety of condiments and flavoring agents such as lemon, vinegar, herbs, onion and garlic to improve the palatability of salt free food.
Adequate potassium intake can be a part of the treatment. Good sources of potassium like tomato, chickoo, watermelon, banana, leafy vegetables, bitter gourd, brinjal, potatoes, apricots and legumes can be included in the diet. However hypertensive person with kidney disease should avoid a high intake of potassium as it puts an excessive load on the kidney.
You can have 1- 2 cloves of garlic early morning with one glass of lukewarm water everyday.
Rest is very important; you should take at least 6 – 7 hours of sound sleep.
Adopt a regular exercise routine. Regular exercise can give you lot of benefits. It can help prevent you and your kids from becoming overweight and aid in shedding off those excess pounds, thus keeping your heart and blood vessels in top condition. However, it is always better to check with your doctor before you start any kind of exercise program. Also, consult an experienced personal trainer or coach prior to beginning a weight lifting program. This can help prevent injuries.
Have your blood pressure checked regularly.

Don’ts for hypertensive people
Do not use:
Salt at the table (use salt lightly in cooking)
Salt preserved foods such as salted or smoked meat (ham, bacon, sausages etc), salted or smoked fish.
Shell fishers such as shrimp, crab, lobster.
Highly salted foods such as potato chips, salted nuts, popcorn, highly salted biscuits and other salted snacks.
Food with sodium as preservative such as ketchup, chilli sauce, soya sauce, garlic sauce, pickle and various chutneys.
Baking powder, baking soda or anything containing these.
Flavour enhancers like ajinomoto. This means Chinese foods.
Bread, pav and processed cheese.
Alcohol. Heavy drinking may lead to the development of the disease.
Smoking is never considered a healthy habit. What's worse is that smoking and high blood pressure is a deadly combination. The combination of these two can lead to a heart attack or stroke later on in life.

These few modifications will not only help you to get a control on your systolic and diastolic pressures but will also help to reduce your body weight and get you in shape.