Do you or someone you know have hypertension? If you answered yes, then keep reading today’s guest article by founder of TheDASHdiet.net, Sarah Carter, who believes hypertension can be controlled simply by sticking to a particular diet.
Hypertension, a condition that concerns having abnormally high blood pressure, has been a common health issue for a very long time. With the increasing number of people displaying hypertension, it has become more important to identify effective yet low risk ways to deal with the problem. More than that, life-threatening issues like heart diseases and strokes can come into the picture as complications of the said condition thereby making it always vital to seek early management.
There are actually several ways to control hypertension. But the main purpose of the article is to give focus on controlling hypertension with diet.
For many years, diet has been given more attention due to its contribution to having a healthy body and lifestyle. In fact, looking at it from a holistic viewpoint, having the right diet can certainly offer positive effects against many of the most common health problems a person may encounter. In the first place, a lot of medical conditions are usually caused by bad dieting habits.
So what about hypertension? Is there any diet in particular that stands out when dealing with the condition? Below are some of the most effective techniques you can use when it comes to diet as a method of controlling hypertension.
1. Get Plenty of Potassium
Get a list of foods that are high in potassium and start to incorporate them into your diet. Not only do they protect blood vessels but also keep its walls from thickening. Here are some common high-potassium veggies you may want to consider:
- Sweet potatoes
- Fresh tomatoes
- Beet greens
- Green beans
*Yogurt is also known to have good levels of potassium, if you’re not much of a vegetable fan!
2. Reduce Salt Intake
Reducing sodium intake is a crucial part in maintaining a healthy blood pressure. High levels of sodium in the bloodstream causes extra fluid retention resulting to greater strain on the heart and arteries. Below are ways you can do to limit sodium intake.
- Use fresh, free-range meat for your cooking
- Avoid fast foods, canned goods, and processed foods
- When cooking, make sure to use salt-free seasonings
- Get used to reading and double checking sodium levels on food labels
3. Limit Alcohol Consumption
Limiting your alcohol intake is also important when it comes to controlling high blood pressure. Why? Because it can have detrimental long-term effects.
In fact, the more units of alcohol you consume on a regular basis doubles or quadruples your risk of developing high blood pressure in the future. This makes it also an important factor from a preventive point of view.
The best way to do it? Make sure you make alcohol-free days much more common and cut out binge drinking altogether.
4. DASH Diet
The DASH diet is now becoming even more popular than before. It is a healthy eating plan created to not only prevent but also help manage hypertension. It is done through cutting out the amount of sodium intake and replacing it with nutrient rich foods that have a significant effect in lowering blood pressure. These nutrients are magnesium, potassium and calcium.
When taking the diet, it’s important to increase your intake of veggies, fruits and dairy products (low fat). You should also incorporate a decent amount of whole grains, fish and nuts. As mentioned before, reduced salt levels is really important if you want to see full benefits of the DASH diet. There are two routes you can follow:
- Route A: is the standard option where you limit 2,400-3,000 mg of sodium daily
- Route B: this is when you lower the sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day (based on doctor’s findings)
What are the main type of foods to expect with the DASH diet?
It’s recommended that you have about 6 to 8 servings of grains daily. Whether it’s in the form of brown bead, brown rice or pasta, it is up to you! It must be 100% whole grain.
Vegetables is another important factor in which you are advised to have about 4 to 5 servings per day. Think about stocking up on carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens and other veggies rich in minerals and vitamins.
Don’t forget about fruits too! They are super handy when you’re in a rush and can be amazing for blood pressure as they are low in fat plus have heaps of essential minerals like magnesium and fiber. Take about 4 to 5 servings a day.
Other Additional Tips:
Try to keep your coffee and caffeine intake to a minimum. This is important because it raises not only your blood pressure but also your heart rate.
Eat home cooked meals a lot more and avoid eating out unless necessary or on special occasions. It is for the main reason you will never know how much sodium chefs are putting in their dishes. Normally, the tastier the dishes, which is a huge selling point for restaurants, the more additives.
About the Author
I’m Sarah Carter, the founder of TheDASHdiet.net – a website that offers hundreds of free DASH diet recipes which can be helpful in the management of several health conditions, more particularly hypertension.
Do you have hypertension? Do you follow a similar diet to the DASH? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!