Diet in Treating High Blood Pressure
A high blood pressure diet is often the most straightforward and most effective way in which to address a high blood pressure problem. Individuals suffering from prehypertention or mild hypertension may be able to bring their condition completely under control simply by making a few dietary changes. Those suffering from moderate to severe hypertension will also benefit substantially from a healthy diet, which may in the long run reduce their need for prescribed medication.
The main focus of a high blood pressure diet is undoubtedly a reduction in sodium intake. It is estimated that in America for example, individuals consume almost four times more sodium than their bodies actually need on a daily basis. Studies such as DASH- Sodium have shown that a reduction in sodium and salt over an extended period of time has a significant effect on the lowering of elevated blood pressure levels.
The DASH blood pressure diet or ‘Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension' proposes a combination of a low sodium foods and high fibre, low fat food to lower blood pressure. The eating plan proposes making gradual changes to one's diet so as to avoid sending the system into a state of shock.
The intake of whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean protein and low fat dairy products is encouraged, whilst sugar, caffeine, alcohol refined foods and red meat are kept to a minimum. Sodium levels are kept below 1500mg per day (approximately three quarters to one teaspoon). The DASH diet aims not only to reduce high blood pressure, but also to introduce individuals to a healthy and wholesome lifestyle that will be beneficial to every aspect of their lives.
In conjunction with the DASH eating plan, the consumption of foods high in calcium, magnesium and potassium is also encouraged. Although these minerals can be taken in supplement form, obtaining them from their natural source is always a better option. Fruit and vegetables, low fat dairy products, seeds, nuts and oily fish are all good sources of these minerals. In addition to dietary changes, individuals are also encouraged to take supplements such as carnitine, fish oils, evening primrose and flax seed oils, amino acids and vitamins B, C and E. Herbal remedies and alternative therapies such as massage, reflexology, meditation, hypnosis and acupuncture are also thought to compliment the DASH eating plan.
List of Food that Lowers Blood Pressure
Whole Grains : wholewheat and rye bread and bagels, whole grain cereal, wholemeal pasta, couscous, brown rice.
Vegetables : green leafy vegetables, root vegetables, legumes, potatoes and squash.
Fruit: Berries, citrus fruits, deciduous fruits, fruit and vegetable juice, dried fruit, unsweetened canned fruit.
Low Fat or Fat Free Dairy Products: milk, yoghurt, cheese, soft cheese, fromage frais and crème frache.
Lean, Healthy Protein: skinned chicken, turkey, white and oily fish, lean cuts of steak, broad beans and legumes, eggs in moderation.
Nuts and Seeds: walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds, pecan nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, linseeds and sesame seeds.
Fats and Oils: olive oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, soft margarine, low fat mayonnaise and salad dressings.
Flavourings and Condiments : balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, white, black and cayenne pepper, onion powder, basil, thyme, coriander and sage.