Diet for High Blood Pressure
If you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes including exercise and a diet to control high blood pressure. Diet can make a difference and help you reduce the amount of medication you take and in some cases may eliminate the need to take it at all. However, this should not be done without your doctor's approval.
A reduction in sodium can reduce blood pressure, and as a result, a diet to control high blood pressure restricts sodium. For people with high blood pressure, sodium intake should be less than 1,500 mg a day. Check food labels for sodium content. Many processed foods and restaurant meals contain more sodium than people with high blood pressure should eat. Be aware of how much sodium you're eating.
Potassium Rich Foods
Potassium rich foods should be part of a diet designed to control high blood pressure. Potassium can reduce the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of potassium.
Along with fruits and vegetables, whole grains are a source of beneficial phytochemicals and antioxidants. Results from a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed whole grains make a difference when it comes to high blood pressure. Over a decade, results revealed a four percent drop in blood pressure in participants who ate a daily serving of whole grains. Six to eight servings a day are recommended.
Lean Meats and Fish
When choosing meat for your weekly menu, plan lean cuts and be sure to remove the skin from chicken and turkey. While meat is a good source of protein and B vitamins, it also contains fat and dietary cholesterol. Eat smaller meat portions and add more vegetables to your plate to help manage your blood pressure. Avoid frying your meat. Instead choose one of the following cooking methods:
Nut and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are another good dietary source of potassium and protein, plus they provide magnesium. While nuts are good for you, they should be eaten in moderation due to their fat content. Other than nuts, foods in this category to include in your diet to help control blood pressure should include things like:
- Kidney beans
- Soybean products
- Sunflower seeds
A little alcohol can actually help lower blood pressure in some people by as much as two to four mm Hg, however, more than one drink for women or two drinks for men can have the opposite effect.
Chose Sweets Wisely
It's unrealistic to think you won't eat sweets, but it is important to limit your sweets as you work to control your blood pressure. Choose desserts and snacks low in fat or fat free.
The DASH Diet is recommended by most doctors for patients who suffer from high blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Overall the DASH diet guidelines include a healthy balance of whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables and is low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Along with diet, other factors associated with high blood pressure include: