Hypertension, also known to most of us as high blood pressure, is a common problem in the US that typically leads to a high blood pressure diet plan. Since many recent studies indicate that a Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (also known as the DASH plan) is very successful at lowering blood pressure, medication is not always necessary
Understanding Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure is measured in (mmHg) millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is actually the force of blood against artery walls. It’s recorded as systolic pressure (when the heart beats) over diastolic pressure (when the heart relaxes between beats). Although our blood pressure goes up and down during any given day, high blood pressure is diagnosed when it stays elevated over time.
High blood pressure is dangerous because it overworks the heart harming arteries and organs like kidneys, eyes, brain, and the heart itself. However, with some healthy diet tips you can help prevent high blood pressure or even lower existing problems.
Lower Daily Sodium Intake
Sodium, or salt, has a direct effect on cells in the body, and in high amounts, will raise your blood pressure. Become a label reader when grocery shopping, and look for sodium contents on food packages. A surprising amount of hidden sugar and salt are processed into sauces, crackers, and preprepared meals.
Avoid Drinking Alcohol
Alcohol directly raises blood pressure and damages the walls of blood vessels. Although a glass of wine a day can be a healthy recommendation, patients with hypertension should avoid alcohol unless otherwise directed by their doctor.
Eat Potassium Rich Foods
Potassium helps the body balance sodium levels and process the excess out of the body. Examples of Potassium rich foods include:
Avoid Saturate Fats and Trans Fats
These unhealthy fats clog arteries and put more pressure on the cardo system and circulatory systems, raising blood pressure. Look for polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, and consume them in moderation.
Eat Whole Grains
Whole grains help balance hormones and insulin levels that keep your body weight down. Maintaining a healthy weight is critical in managing high blood pressure.
Double Up on Healthy Fruits and Vegetables
In addition to balancing hormones, suppressing appetite, and providing lots of nutrients, vegetables help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol. Try adding just a handful of raw vegetables to each meal to get the extra servings. Another good rule of thumb is to try selecting 3 different colors of fruits or vegetables for each meal.
Eat Lean Protein
Trade some of your fatty red meat meals for leaner options. By replacing some of those unhealthy proteins with leaner cuts of fish, poultry, and lean pork, you cut down the unhealthy fats that raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Add Herbs Instead of Salt
Exchange salt for new herbs and seasonings. Instead of adding extra salt to your food for taste, consider experimenting with new spices and herbs to enhance your food.
The DASH diet can be a helpful tool in lowering blood pressure, stabilizing blood sugar and lowering cholesterol. Although it was originally intend to treat hypertension issue, many dieters have found it an excellent tool for weight loss also.