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Can Your Diet Lower High Blood Pressure?
The simple answer to the above question is yes. Many scientific and clinical studies have repeatedly shown that your diet can have a very large effect upon your long term blood pressure. Making good choices about what you eat, drink and how much you eat will help you control your high blood pressure. The general diet of modern western or ‘civilized society’ has been shown to be a large contributing factor in the increasing number of people with high blood pressure problems.
Long term high blood pressure (or Hypertension) is a very serious health problem. If left unchecked it can and often does lead to many very serious long term problems. If you think you would know if you had high blood pressure, then you are WRONG. Most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms, so you can’t assume that your blood pressure is normal if you haven’t had it tested. It is thought that about 1 in 3 US adults does not know they have high blood pressure because they do not have any symptoms.
The only true way of ascertaining whether you have high blood pressure or not is by having it checked or monitored regularly using a home blood pressure monitor and tracking it with a blood pressure log. This is a painless procedure, and every adult should have their blood pressure checked regularly since your blood pressure can change over time. This way you are more likely to catch a change before it becomes dangerous. Ask your health care provider how often you need to check it.
High blood pressure or hypertension affects approximately 116 million individuals in the United States and approximately 1 billion worldwide.
The two main parts to a better high blood pressure diet are lower salt (sodium) intake and an increase of potassium in your daily diet. Most government food and health agencies around the world are encouraging a reduction in dietary salt / sodium levels. To make a high blood pressure diet more effective it’s essential that you start to take regular exercise. This doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym, it fact that’s often not the best form of exercise. Try to find a form of exercise that you like doing – walking the dog, cycling, swimming, yoga, pilates etc etc – the important thing is to find something that you can do and ‘will’ do several times a week.
Which Diet Is Best For High Blood Pressure?
If you are looking for the best diet for high blood pressure, look no further than the tried-and-true DASH diet. For over 20 years, following the DASH dies has been shown to lower blood pressure among those who has high blood pressure or hypertension, making it the BEST diet to lower high blood pressure, according to many studies. The DASH food plan has foods, drinks and seasonings that are:
- low in sodium, fat and cholesterol
- high in fiber, potassium
- calcium and magnesium
- moderately high in protein
The DASH Food Plan
This plan comes from the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet clinical study. As the name implies, the DASH diet was developed to stop hypertension. Following this balanced diet has been proven to lower blood pressure.
DASH Food Groups
On the DASH plan, you choose what to eat from the eight food groups. Each group is an important part of this healthy, balanced food plan. You can choose any food you want from each group. If you don’t like a food choice, choose another food from the same group. Having a good mix from all the food groups gives you the healthy balance you need.
How Much And How Often
In the DASH food plan, the Daily Servings tell you how many servings you should eat from each group. The Serving Size tells you how much of each kind of food makes a serving. The daily servings listed in the example are for a person who needs 2,000 calories a day.
You may need more or less than this based on physical activity level.
- Sedentary: You do only light physical activity that is part of your typical day-day routine.
- Moderately Active: You do physical activity equal to walking about 1 to 3. miles a day at 3 to 4 miles per hour, plus light physical activity.
- Active: You do physical activity to walking more than 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour, plus light physical activity.
Here is a plan based on what you need each day. Ask your physician or a registered dietitian if you don’t know how many calories is right for you.
What Foods To Avoid If You Have High Blood Pressure?
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension, then you should watch out for fat, cholesterol and sodium. Here are 6 foods to avoid, or to use lightly:
- Salad dressings, mayonnaise
- Fatty meat
- Whole milk and whole milk products, including sour cream, butter and cheese
- Soy sauce
- Canned food
- Frozen dinner
For foods that can be bad for your blood pressure, there are healthy, good-tasting substitutes. Here are 7 foods substitutes:
- Fat-free or low-fat salad dressings and mayonnaise
- Unsalted, fat-free popcorn
- Fat-free or low fat ice-cream and other desserts
- Low-sodium sauces
- Low-fat types of butter, sour cream, cream cheese and mayonnaise
- Low-salt cold cuts and cheeses
- Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables