How This Helps

The best diet for high blood pressure gives people the ability to decrease blood pressure and cardiovascular risk factors. You can stop hypertension or high blood pressure if you follow a healthy and balanced eating pattern, such as the DASH diet. This DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in sodium. By combining DASH with exercise, individuals may have the ability to decrease blood pressure and cardiovascular risk factors. Originally implemented as a dietary plan to reduce blood pressure, DASH has many benefits for health. Focusing on whole foods, this heart-healthy strategy is high in fiber and low in saturated fats and added sugars. It can be a method of eating for the entire family, and also may decrease risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and kidney stones.

 

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is a common medical condition that is known as hypertension. It can be controlled by making certain healthy lifestyle changes, especially by controlling your diet. If hypertension is left untreated and uncontrolled, it can lead to other diseases such as stroke, kidney disease, and heart disease. High blood pressure is often mentioned as the silent killer as it does not produce any symptoms and can go untreated for several years. Let us take a look at a high blood pressure diet menu that keeps into account all these dietary factors.

See: DASH Diet Treatment for High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure and diet menu

If you have high blood pressure, a condition known as hypertension, it is recommended that you consume meals that are low in trans fats, cholesterol, sodium (salt), saturated fats, and added sugars. If you look at this, then this is not just great dietary advice for those who have high blood pressure, but for everyone. 

For people with high blood pressure, the critical factor is to watch out for your salt consumption. Eating too much salt or sodium can be harmful to your health, and not just for your blood pressure levels. Sometimes, it can cause damage to your body without you even coming to realize it. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high blood pressure can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attack, which are amongst the most common causes of death worldwide[1]. This risk only keeps on increasing as you age. 

Here are some overall dietary recommendations for people with high blood pressure who want to manage their blood pressure levels:

·        Increase the intake of whole-grain foods

·        Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods

·        Eat more poultry and fatty fish

·        Consume more seeds and nuts

·        Decrease the consumption of foods that are highly processed, rich in cholesterol, trans fats, and saturated fats

·        Restrict your consumption of sweets, sodium, red meats, and sugary beverages

A high blood pressure diet menu should be rich in magnesium[2], fiber, potassium[3,4], and low in sodium[5]. Here are some excellent foods that you should include in a high blood pressure diet menu to fight high blood pressure.


Add Green Leafy Vegetables to your High Blood Pressure Diet Menu

Green leafy vegetables are known to contain high amounts of potassium. Potassium plays a vital role in helping the kidneys get rid of excess sodium through your urine. This is believed to help reduce your blood pressure levels.[6]

Some leafy green vegetables that are rich in potassium include:

·        Kale

·        Spinach

·        Beet greens

·        Romaine lettuce

·        Arugula

·        Turnip greens

·        Swiss chard

·        Collard greens

Many people wonder about the benefits of having canned vegetables. The fact is that many brands of canned vegetables contain added sodium.[7] If you read the food labels carefully, then you might find some brands of frozen vegetables that contain many nutrients as fresh vegetables. There is also the added benefit that canned vegetables are easier to store and require less space.[8] 

The best way to include leafy green vegetables in your high blood pressure diet menu is to either have them raw or steamed/boiled.[9] Here are some other healthy ways in which you can include leafy greens in your high blood pressure diet menu:

·        Include spinach in your frittata

·        Make a burrito bowl and add some leafy greens to top it off

·        Try making purple kale and spinach pizza

·        Make a breakfast pizza with added arugula

·        Make a green smoothie and include bananas, coconut milk, and spinach to give a dose of energy to your body


Include Berries in your High Blood Pressure Diet Menu

All types of berries, but especially blueberries, are powerhouses of natural compounds known as flavonoids that are known to help in hypertension and also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.[10] A study found that an increased intake of flavonoids may help prevent high blood pressure and also lower high blood pressure.[11,12]

Here are some easy ways to include berries in your diet:

·        You can blend a mix of berries into a nourishing smoothie. 

·        You can toss berries into your pancake batter or place them on top of your waffles

·        Incorporate berries into a healthy fruit salad.

·        Bake them into muffins

A recent study has also found that daily consumption of blueberries can lower blood pressure in women.[13] Researchers have also found that eating different berries promotes cardiovascular health. The review of studies found that a diet rich in berries boosts gut health, supports healthy aging, and also lowers the risk of many chronic diseases.[14]

See: Strawberries nutrition health benefits

High blood pressure diet menu and fatty fish

Fish has a vital role to play in managing high blood pressure. It is a lean protein that is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish, in particular, like salmon and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce blood pressure, decrease inflammation in the body, and also lower the levels of triglycerides. 

Additionally, fish such as trout are also rich in vitamin D. There are very few food sources that contain vitamin D, and this vitamin is known to have properties that can help lower blood pressure. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are known to be critical for boosting brain and heart health. They not only lower the risk of heart disease but also reduce inflammation in the body.[15]

As per the recommendations of the American Heart Association (AHA), eating fatty fish at least twice a week can significantly boost the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the body and also lower triglycerides that increase the risk of hypertension.[16]

Here are some of the best fish to include in your high blood pressure diet menu:

·        Alaskan salmon

·        Cod

·        Herring

·        Mackerel

·        Rainbow trout

·        Sardines

·        Tuna

·        Striped bass

See: Herbs to lower high blood pressure

Summary

Following a heart-healthy diet can significantly lower the risk of developing high blood pressure, and it will also be useful for your overall health. High blood pressure today affects more than a million people all over the world, with the number increasing almost daily. In recent years, the number of people having hypertension has nearly doubled.[17]

Diet is known to play a huge role in the development of hypertension, and doctors recommend following a high blood pressure diet menu to help reduce the risk of high blood pressure. By following some of the dietary strategies and recommendations described here, you will be able to combat high blood pressure and also reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

See: Auricular Acupuncture for Relief of Hypertension and Insomnia

References

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. About High Blood Pressure | Cdc.Gov. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 March 2020].

2. Cappuccio, F.P., Markandu, N.D., Beynon, G.W., Shore, A.C., Sampson, B. and MacGregor, G.A., 1985. Lack of effect of oral magnesium on high blood pressure: a double blind study. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed), 291(6490), pp.235-238.

3. Whelton, P.K. and He, J., 1999, September. Potassium in preventing and treating high blood pressure. In Seminars in nephrology (Vol. 19, No. 5, pp. 494-499).

4. Abernethy, J.D., 1979. Sodium and potassium in high blood pressure. Food technology.

5. Cappuccio, F.P., Markandu, N.D., Sagnella, G.A. and MacGregor, G.A., 1985. Sodium restriction lowers high blood pressure through a decreased response of the renin system: direct evidence using saralasin. J Hypertens, 3(3), pp.243-247.

6. Cappuccio, F.P. and MacGregor, G.A., 1991. Does potassium supplementation lower blood pressure? A meta-analysis of published trials.

7. WYATT, C.J., 1981. Comparison of sodium and sodium/potassium salt mixtures in processed vegetables. Journal of Food Science, 46(1), pp.302-303. 

8. Hunter, K.J. and Fletcher, J.M., 2002. The antioxidant activity and composition of fresh, frozen, jarred & canned vegetables. Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, 3(4), pp.399-406.

9. Chan, Q., Stamler, J., Brown, I.J., Daviglus, M.L., Van Horn, L., Dyer, A.R., Griep, L.O., Miura, K., Ueshima, H., Zhao, L. and Nicholson, J.K., 2014. Relation of raw & cooked vegetable consumption to blood pressure: the INTERMAP Study. Journal of human hypertension, 28(6), pp.353-359.

10. Huang, H., Chen, G., Liao, D., Zhu, Y. and Xue, X., 2016. Effects of berries consumption on cardiovascular risk factors: A meta-analysis with trial sequential analysis of randomized controlled trials. Scientific reports, 6, p.23625.

11. Clark, J.L., Zahradka, P. and Taylor, C.G., 2015. Efficacy of flavonoids in the management of high blood pressure. Nutrition reviews, 73(12), pp.799-822.

12. Moline, J., Bukharovich, I.F., Wolff, M.S. and Phillips, R., 2000. Dietary flavonoids and hypertension: is there a link?. Medical hypotheses, 55(4), pp.306-309.

13. Johnson, S.A., Figueroa, A., Navaei, N., Wong, A., Kalfon, R., Ormsbee, L.T., Feresin, R.G., Elam, M.L., Hooshmand, S., Payton, M.E. and Arjmandi, B.H., 2015. Daily blueberry consumption improves blood pressure & arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women with pre-and stage 1-hypertension: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition &Dietetics, 115(3), pp.369-377.

14. Yang, B. and Kortesniemi, M., 2015. Clinical evidence on potential health benefits of berries. Current Opinion in Food Science, 2, p p.36-42.

15. Skulas-Ray, A.C., Wilson, P.W., Harris, W.S., Brinton, E.A., Kris-Etherton, P.M., Richter, C.K., Jacobson, T.A., Engler, M.B., Miller, M., Robinson, J.G. and Blum, C.B., 2019. Omega-3 fatty acids for the management of hypertriglyceridemia: a science advisory from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 140(12), pp.e673-e691.

16. www.heart.org. 2020. Fish And Omega-3 Fatty Acids. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 March 2020].

17. NCD Risk Factor Collaboration, 2017. Worldwide trends in blood pressure from 1975 to 2015: a pooled analysis of 1479 population-based measurement studies with 19· 1 million participants. Lancet (London, England), 389(10064), p.37.


See: Panchakarma therapy to prevent chronic diseases

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