Diet For High Blood Pressure and Hypertension, Relation Between Diet and Blood Pressure
Bad eating habits contribute significantly to unsafe high blood pressure levels, especially in 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 (eg. follow a healthy low-socium diet) is frequently at the top of a doctor’s list of recommendations to reduce or prevent the onset of high blood pressure.
Before revealing the best type of diet for hypertension (and the one that is doctor-recommended), let’s take a brief look at the health consequences of high blood pressure.
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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 the thickening of blood vessels known as atherosclerosis. Other dangers from hypertension include damage to the heart, coronary artery disease, possible kidney failure, strokes, and, even eye damage. The choice is yours to try to save these vital organs by controlling your blood pressure.
Remember hypertension is a silent killer. It shows its effects silently and by the time that you know that you have high blood pressure, hypertension has already begun to stress your vital organs.
Normal Blood Pressure Levels vs. Pre-hypertensive and Hypertensive
The 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. Whether you are pre-hypertensive or hypertensive, you 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
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, you can produce noticeable improvements.
Some Dietary Advice and Tips For High Blood Pressure
Aside from losing weight – if needed, here is what else you can do to control your BP.
1. Choose A Healthy Balanced Diet.
If you want to reduce your blood pressure, your diet should be rich in whole foods, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods, while low in saturated and trans-fats. It should also be low in cholesterol, and 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.
How salt intake increases blood pressure.
The first thing to do is to reduce your intake of sodium (salt). Eating too much salt or sodium-rich foods leads to a greater uptake of fluid and causes greater retention of water inside your 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.
2. Reduce Sodium Intake.
How can you decrease sodium intake? Eat less pre-cooked or processed food, and eat more fresh, whole foods. 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 (eg. packet, bottled or canned food).
3. Avoid High Sodium Foods.
These foods typically have a high sodium content. In order not to exceed the RDA, either avoid them altogether, or choose low-sodium varieties. Here is a list of high sodium foods to avoid.
1. Sauces including barbecue sauce, catsup, garlic salt, mustard, Soy sauce, steak sauce, salad dressing.
2. Seasoning including mustard, onion salt, seasoned salts like lemon pepper, bouillon cubes, meat tenderizer, and monosodium glutamate.
3. Baking additives such as baking powder and baking soda.
4. Salted snacks such as peanuts, pretzels, pork rinds, tortilla chips, corn chips.
5. Soup that are instant soups as well as regular canned soups.
6. Pickled food including olives, or sauerkraut, Herring, pickles, relish.
7. Meats that are smoked or cured meats (containing sodium-nitrite) such as bacon, bologna, hot dogs, ham, corned beef, luncheon meats, and sausage, and chitterlings.
8. Dairy foods contain salt including most cheese spreads and cheeses.
9. Drinks like club soda, & saccharin-flavored soda.
10. Cereals such as instant hot cereals & regular ready to eat cold cereals.
11. Ready-to-Eat boxed mixes like rice, scalloped potatoes, macaroni and cheese and some frozen dinners, pot pies and pizza plus quick cook rice & instant noodles.
12. Fats including butter, fatback, and salt pork.
4. Check Labels of Food Containers.
Choose those foods which are labeled as low-sodium, very low sodium, or salt-free. Check food labels for words that indicate a high sodium content, including words like: sodium nitrite, sodium proprionate, disodium phosphate, and sodium sulfate., monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide.
5. Develop Lower Sodium Eating Habits
Do not add extra salt when cooking or preparing meals. Cook with more herbs and spices.
Do not have salt on the table while eating do not add salt on salad.
If you cook with salt, switch to chili, ginger and lemon juice for flavoring.
If you eat cured/smoked meats, switch to fresh cold meats.
If you eat ready-to-serve breakfast cereal, choose low-sodium types of cereal.
Rinse before eating when eating tuna, salmon, sardines, or mackerel canned in water.
If you eat soup, switch to low-sodium or fresh soups.
If you cook with whole milk, switch to 1 percent or skimmed buttermilk.
Remember by eating a less salt diet, losing weight, if needed, and following the DASH diet, your blood pressure should be with in normal limits in no time.
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