High Blood Pressure Diet | DASH DIET | Hypertension

High Blood Pressure Diet

A high blood pressure diet needs restrictions on high sugar, high-fat snacks, and foods high in salt. DASH diet is recommended to help treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension). Let’s understand about foods to avoid and foods to include to lower blood pressure.

High blood pressure could be due to tension, anxiety, confusion, fatigue, headache, obesity, etc. High blood pressure also known as hypertension is the most chronic disease and if untreated results in disability or death due to stroke, heart failure or kidney failure.

Symptoms of Hypertension/High Blood Pressure:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Pale Skin or Redness of Skin
  • Vision Changes

High Bp is related to dietary intake of salt and fats. High salt leads to water retention and increases the volume of blood in the circulation. This leads to an extra load on the heart and it responds by increasing the pumping pressure. The saturated fats in the diet deposit in the blood vessels over a time causing them to harden. The heart needs an extra pressure to pump blood through them, causing BP to rise.

Hypertension and salt intake: A detailed factsheet by WHO

High Blood Pressure Diet | DASH DIET
High Blood Pressure Diet | DASH DIET

High Blood Pressure Diet

A DASH Diet is recommended to help treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension). This diet includes a healthy-eating plan designed to limit foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat and added sugars and include foods that are rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium. 

A detailed report on DASH Diet To Stop Hypertension 

Dietary Management: Foods To Avoid With High Blood Pressure

  • Maintain energy needs slightly below normal level.
  • Low energy diets are essentially low fat diets.
  • Reduce the quantity of fat. Fat should be from a plant based source.
  • Animal source fat like butter, ghee should be restricted.
  • Emphasis should be on foods in high complex carbs such as starches from plant sources and dietary fibre rather than simple sugars.
  • Normal protein intake is suggested. A diet of 60g protein is necessary to maintain proper macronutrient volume in the diet and that too from the plant source. Avoid animal protein as it is high in fat and sodium.
  • Avoid all packaged and processed food due to high salt added as a flavouring agent.
  • Limited pink salt while cooking is recommended.
  • Avoid use of high sodium content vegetables, baked products and no excessive salt intake apart from basic cooking.
  • No canned vegetables and fruit juices
  • Do not include more than 1 serving of beetroot, carrots, mustard greens, spinach, lotus stem
  • Avoid bread, cornflakes/oats etc.
  • Avoid salad dressings, mayonnaise, baking powder, baking soda etc..
  • Moderation is required in dairy products, milk(restricted amount), eggs(3/week), meat and chicken(40-50g/day)
  • Stop Smoking
  • Low sodium diet with 2mg/grams per day
  • Avoid caffeine intake. Do not drink excessive alcohol.
  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt for the taste.

Note: Maintaining a normal weight with healthy eating habits that includes a high fibre plant based diet is highly recommended. Moreover it takes 3 months for a person to get used to a sodium restricted diet. So be patient and consistent.Also adopt healthy habits like exercising regularly, doing meditation especially om chanting to keep the mind at peace and reduce stress and relax. Follow a dash diet as that really helps to control Hypertension.

The DASH Diet for Healthy Blood Pressure
The DASH Diet for Healthy Blood Pressure. Source: OhioHealth

Potassium and Calcium are Important in Hypertension

Adequate intake of potassium and calcium is a necessary part of this treatment. So include milk, fruits and vegetables, and for calcium include ragi, milk, leafy vegetables.

Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

  1. Citrus fruits, including grapefruit, oranges, and lemons, may have powerful blood-pressure-lowering effects.
  2. Chia and flax seeds are essential for healthy blood pressure regulation, including potassium, magnesium, and fibre. Also an excellent source of omega-3 fats.
  3. Pumpkin seeds are a concentrated source of nutrients important for blood pressure control, including magnesium, potassium, and arginine, an amino acid needed for the production of nitric oxide, which is essential for blood vessel relaxation and blood pressure reduction.
  4. Beans and lentils are rich in nutrients that help regulate blood pressure, such as fibre, magnesium, and potassium.
  5. Berries are a rich source of antioxidants, including anthocyanins, which are pigments that give berries their vibrant colour. Anthocyanins have been shown to increase nitric oxide levels in the blood and reduce the production of blood-vessel-restricting molecules, which may help reduce blood pressure levels.
  6. Eating whole grains like amaranth may help lower your blood pressure levels. 
  7. Pistachios are highly nutritious, and their consumption has been linked to healthy blood pressure levels. They’re high in a number of nutrients essential for heart health and blood pressure regulation, including potassium.
  8. Crunchy, sweet, and nutritious, carrots are a staple veggie in many people’s diets. Carrots are high in phenolic compounds, such as chlorogenic, p-coumaric, and caffeic acids, that help relax blood vessels and reduce inflammation, which may help lower blood pressure levels.
  9. Tomatoes and tomato products are rich in many nutrients, including potassium and the carotenoid pigment lycopene.
  10. Broccoli is loaded with flavonoid antioxidants, which may help lower blood pressure by enhancing blood vessel function and increasing nitric oxide levels in your body 
  11. Greek yoghurt is a nutrient-dense dairy product that’s packed with minerals that help regulate blood pressure, including potassium and calcium
  12. Celery seed, cilantro, saffron, lemongrass, black cumin, ginseng, cinnamon, cardamom, sweet basil, and ginger are just some of the herbs and spices that have been shown to have blood-pressure-lowering potential.
  13. Beets, spinach are high in nitrates. It’s also loaded with antioxidants, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, making it an excellent choice for people with high blood pressure.

Along with other lifestyle modifications, adopting a healthy diet can significantly lower blood pressure levels and help reduce your heart disease risk.

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