Thursday, 2 March 2017

March 2016: blood pressure


High blood pressure - what can I do about it, myself? Well here it is - surprise surprise:
- lose weight
- exercise: just walking is good
- don’t smoke
- reduce stress - every bit helps. For simple suggestions, see Blog Archive July 2014: ‘just relax ….’
- cut down on alcohol. Alcohol can also affect the effectiveness of your hypertension medication. 
- last but not least, eat well. Here is how you do that: 

  1. Boost potassium. Best to get it from food (bananas) rather than supplements. 
  2. Replace tablesalt with seasalt (see [1]) and don’t eat processed food: most sodium is added during processing.
  3. Avoid glucose-fructose, fructose-glucose (syrup), HFCS, isoglucose or maize syrup: this is all the same thing. Found icereal bars, biscuits, ice cream, yoghurt drinks, and that's just for starters. You could try and make these things yourself instead. See [2]
  4. Raw garlic: 1-2 cloves daily. Crush and have in honey, or with milk for the taste.
  5. Baked potato, beetroot (juice), spinach, kidney beans, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, milk, raw celery and rooibos tea are all good.
  6. Onion: mix 1/2 tsp of onion juice and the same of honey: have twice a day for two weeks. 
  7. A cup of warm water with the juice of half a lemon every morning on an empty stomach - ideally without sugar.
  8. Cayenne pepper - add just a little bit to your food.
  9. Honey: 2 tsp first thing in the morning. See also [3].
  10. Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat, even for just a week, can shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor what you eat, how much, when and why.

    And beware! 
    Pharmaceutical medications with decongestants, NSAIDs (non-steroid ant-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen, steroids, birth control pills, and antidepressants, are all likely to raise your blood pressure.
    See also [4].

    Low blood pressure is far less common. Eat small frequent meals; increase natural sea salt intake; drink water with a bit of natural seasalt to taste; and (again) cut down on alcohol. These are just some of the approaches mentioned in the websites below. Here, too, medicines (diuretics, painkillers, anti-depressants and heart drugs) could be to blame. See [5]. 

    broad beans, early carrots, early Brussels, parsnips, maincrop peas, radish, spinach (or spinach beet, better value than proper spinach), chard, turnip, lettuce, early/summer cabbage, spring onions, early cauli, bulb onions, beet, celery (late March).
    Plant: potatoes, onion sets, shallots, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes.

    Veg: purple sprouting broccoli, kale, cavolo nero, squash, cauli, spring greens, radishes, rhubarb, leeks, carrots, spring onions, salad leaves, parsnips, cabbage, chicory, sorrel, swede, beet, brussels, rocket, turnips, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, watercress.
    Fish: dab, red gurnard, grey mullet, mussels, oysters, clams, mackerel, herring, megrim, scallops.
    Meat: rabbit, turkey, wood pigeon, beef, mutton, pork, venison.

    It’s a bit early for sowing yet. Too cold! However, there is plenty you can (should?) do right now: see


    a few good handfuls young nettletops, 2 tblsp of butter/oil, 2 tblsp flour, 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 240ml milk (whole milk is by far best!), 240ml water/stock, salt, pepper.
    Fry onion and garlic for a few mins, stir in nettles (no need to chop or remove stalks) until soft. Stir in flour, gradually add milk and water/stock, stirring all the time. Add seasonings, liquidise.
    For the health benefits of nettles, see

    100g kale (or cabbage, or spinach), 200g purple sprouting broccoli, 150g mushrooms, 2 cloves garlic, oil, 3 tblsp tamari/soy sauce, 1 tsp miso paste (optional), 1 tblsp sesame seeds.
    Slice the kale roughly and chop broccoli into chunks. Crush garlic. Chop the mushrooms roughly. Heat the oil, add garlic and mushrooms. Stir and cook for 5 mins, until the mushrooms are lightly browned and their juice has evaporated. Add broccoli and kale/cabbage (if using spinach, add that a bit later). Stir, cover for 5 mins. If you like your brassicas well done, add a tiny bit of water and let it cook for up to 10 mins with the lid on. Remove from the heat. Mix sesame seeds with the tamari/soy and miso, if using. Add, mix. Serve immediately.
    With pasta or any grain.

    Spring greens: “Shred them shoelace-thin and add to soups or stir-fry” says the Guardian [6].
    Or try this:
    400g trimmed spring greens, 4 tbsp crème fraîche, sea salt, pepper,
    Boil salted water, add greens chopped into narrow ribbons. Cook briefly till they’re done to your liking, drain well. Stir in the crème fraîche and reheat gently.

    900g leg of lamb or mutton – boned and trimmed; 575ml brown ale, 2 finely sliced onions, 3/4 tsp salt, 25g butter, black pepper, bread slices cut into large cubes.
    Cut meat into thin slices across the grain. Place in a heavy pan with beer and onions. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer very gently. After an hour add salt, pepper and butter. Simmer for a further 20-30 more minutes or until tender.

    About: 200g quartered potatoes, 80g chopped parsnips, 80g chopped swede, 4 tblsp cream cheese, small onion, 1/4 tblsp salt, 3 tblsp butter, pepper. 
    Put potatoes, parsnips, swede, onion in boiling salted water. Simmer until tender. Drain, season, add cream cheese, butter, and pepper. Mash. Excellent with broccoli or kale. 

    Sauté a spring (or other) cabbage with lots of cooked, halved chestnuts until it is done to your liking. You might want to add a tiny bit of water later on. Lovely and simple. 

    Cook in milk, drain and puree. Mix with crushed garlic, ground almonds, olive oil and lemon juice.
    Surprisingly nice with beef. 

    600-800g coley - or pollack, whiting, flounder, pouting - as long as it’s firm and white. 2 onions, 4 garlic cloves, tin of tomatoes, ground coriander, ½ tsp mustard seeds, 1½ tsp ground cumin, chilli powder to taste, lemon juice, coriander leaves, 1 tsp salt, oil.
    Cut fish into 4cm cubes. Heat oil, fry mustard seeds until they pop. Add sliced onions, cook until golden, add crushed garlic at the last minute: it burns easily. Quarter the tomatoes and add, cook for a few minutes till it’s like a paste. Add chilli, ground coriander and cumin. You may want to add a bit of hot water at this point: don’t add too much. Put in the fish and cook until done. 
    Serve with lemon and chopped coriander leaves. 

    Next month: DIABETES type 2.