With football season just around the corner, cases of hypertension are sure to be on the rise. Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, has been connected to sports fandom for years. A 2006 Munich study found that hospitals reported twice as many cardiac emergencies as usual on days when Germany played World Cup matches. Among those with diagnosed heart problems, the rate was up to four times higher than the norm.
American football is no different. From interceptions to kickoff returns, football is a roller coaster of emotions ranging from excitement to anxiety. When blood pressure soars (excitement, anxiety and stress can do that), so does your chance of a heart attack or stroke.
From the first college football game to the Super Bowl and beyond, make sure you add these healthy tips to your game day routine to keep your blood pressure in check.
- Arugula is high in blood-pressure lowering nitrates. Make sure to add it to your salad mix!
- Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise in before sitting down to watch the big game.
- Limiting your amount of sodium intake is another easy way to manage your blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your sodium intake to no more than 1,500 mg a day, so try to stick to that guideline.
- Get a stress ball or other stress reliever for those unpredictable plays.
- Avoid processed meats and opt for turkey and chicken dishes during the game instead.
- Olive oil, when substituted for saturated and trans fats in your diet, may reduce your need for high blood pressure medication by 50 percent.
- Most importantly, remember it’s only a game. When your favorite team loses, it feels like you lose to a certain degree. Stress and depression can greatly impact your behavior and health, from overeating to disrupting normal sleep patterns. Try to keep things in perspective. There’s always next Sunday or next season.
From all of us at Overland Park Regional Medical Center, we wish you happy, healthy football season!