Diet For High Blood Pressure and Hypertension: Relation Between Diet and Blood Pressure

If you have bad eating habits, this will significantly contribute to unhealthily high blood pressure levels, particularly at middle age when blood pressure levels typically rise as part of the aging process. Whether or not you are taking anti-hypertensive drugs, the need to make dietary improvements (such as following a healthy low-fat diet) is frequently at the top of a doctor’s list of recommendations to reduce or prevent the onset of high blood pressure. Before outlining the best type of diet for hypertension, let’s take a brief look at the health consequences of increasing blood pressure.

Hazards of Hypertension & High Blood Pressure

In under-developed as well as developed countries, an estimated 20-40 percent of all adults suffer from persistent high blood pressure. High blood pressure puts a strain on the heart causing atherosclerosis (thickening of vessels). The result is damage to the heart, or Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), kidney failure, stroke,  and even eye damage. The choice is yours. Try to save these vital organs by controlling your BP. Remember Hypertension is a silent killer, in that it shows its effects silently, and when you come to know that you have high blood pressure, by that time hypertension often has already begun to affect your vital organs.

Normal Blood Pressure Levels vs. Prehypertensive and Hypertensive

Normal blood pressure of an healthy adult at rest, is 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic) or less. Blood pressure levels greater than 120/80 and below 140/90 are at pre-hypertensive stage, while levels above 140/90 are considered hypertensive stage. Both pre-hypertensive and hypertensive subjects should make diet, exercise and lifestyle changes to reduce or prevent the onset of hypertension and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Weight increases blood Pressure

Over weight persons will likely develop high blood pressure. Weight reduction significantly decreases blood pressure. People with obesity double their risk of developing the disorder. In addition, roughly 7 out of 10 obese adults suffer from high blood pressure. If you lose even 10 pounds can produce noticeable improvements.

Dietary Advice and Tips For High Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure and not overweight, the following sections can help control your BP:

Choose A Healthy Balanced Diet

If you want to reduce your blood pressure, your diet should be rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods, while low in saturated and trans-fats. It should also be low in cholesterol, high in fiber, calcium, potassium and magnesium, and moderately high in protein. The American Heart Association and U.S. government recommend the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet as a good diet guide to reduce blood pressure.

First thing is to Reduce Your Intake of Sodium (Salt)

How salt intake increases blood pressure. Eating too much salt or sodium-rich foods leads to a greater uptake of fluid and causes greater retension of water inside body; leads to volume overload and high blood pressure. It also places extra strain on the arterioles (blood vessels that dilate/constrict to regulate blood pressure and blood flow). Both these effects lead to higher blood pressure. The recommended daily dose for sodium for most people is 2,400 mg.

You can Reduce Sodium Intake

How can you decrease sodium intake? Eat less pre-cooked or processed food, and eat more fresh food. Sodium is found naturally in fresh foods like grains, fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, and dairy products, but in much lower quantities than in processed foods (such as packet, bottled or canned food).

High Sodium Foods

These foods typically have a high sodium content. In order to not to exceed the recommended daily allowance, either avoid them altogether, or choose low-sodium varieties.

  • Sauces:  baking soda, barbecue sauce, ketchup, garlic salt, mustard, onion salt, soy sauce, steak sauce, salad dressing, baking powder, mustard, onion salt, seasoned salts like lemon pepper, bouillon cubes, meat tenderizer, and mono-sodium glutamate
  • Salted Snacks: peanuts, pretzels, pork rinds, tortilla chips, corn chips
  • Soup: instant soups, regular canned soups
  • Pickled Food: olives, sauerkraut, herring, pickles, relish
  • Meats: smoked or cured meats (containing sodium-nitrite) such as bacon, bologna, hot dogs, ham, corned beef, luncheon meats, sausage, hogmaws, ribs, chitterlings
  • Dairy: Most cheese spreads and cheeses
  • Drinks: club soda, saccharin-flavored soda
  • Cereals: Instant hot cereals, regular ready to eat cold cereals
  • Ready-to-Eat:  boxed mixes like rice, scalloped potatoes, macaroni and cheese and some frozen dinners, pot pies, pizza, quick cooked rice, instant noodles
  • Fats: Butter, fatback, and salt pork

Check Labels of Food Containers

Choose those foods which labeled as low-sodium, very low sodium, or salt-free. Check food labels for words that indicate a high sodium content, including: sodium nitrite, sodium proprionate, disodium phosphate, and sodium sulfate, mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, 

Lower Sodium Eating Habits

  • Do not add extra salt when cooking or preparing meals. Cookwith more herbs and spices.
  • Do not have salt on the table while eating do not add salton salad.
  • If you cook with salt, switch to chili, ginger and lemonjuice for flavoring.
  • If you eat cured/smoked meats, switch to fresh cold meats.
  • If you eat ready-to-serve breakfast cereal, chooselow-sodium types of cereal.
  • Rinse before eating, If you eat tuna, salmon, sardines, ormackerel canned in water.
  • If you eat soup, switch to low-sodium or fresh soups.
  • If you cook with whole milk or fat diet, switch to 1 percentor skimmed buttermilk.

Remember if taking less salt into your diet, your BP should return to normal limits.

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