Do you ask yourself, “Which hypertension diet plan is best for me?” Your health care provider can provide the best advice for you. However, medical research has proven that a specific diet called the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which includes a healthy and specific combination of foods, can reduce blood pressure in most hypertension patients, and reduce the risk of hypertension in others.
Benefits of the DASH Diet
The DASH diet is even as effective as blood pressure medicine is for some patients. Other hypertension patients find it beneficial to follow the DASH diet and take blood pressure medicine.
Following and DASH diet can help reduce high cholesterol, as well as high blood pressure.
Foods Included in the DASH Diet
The DASH diet includes fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grain products, lean meats such as fish and poultry, and nuts. The most beneficial foods in these food groups are those that are rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber, and low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol.
Some foods included in the DASH diet for people who have high blood pressure, or are at risk of developing hypertension, are:
- brown rice
- whole grain pasta
- wheat bread
- low-fat milk
Tomato juice and celery juice seem to be especially beneficial in regulating blood pressure when eaten as part of the DASH diet.
Salt Limits in the DASH Diet
As part of the DASH diet, your salt intake should be reduced to less than one tablespoon of table salt per day. For some patients, reducing sodium can be as effective in reducing blood pressure as taking blood pressure medicine. Some patients require reducing their salt intake, as well as taking blood pressure medicine, in order to manage their high blood pressure.
The reason salt can be so effective in reducing high blood pressure is because it can increase blood pressure by causing blood vessels and body tissues to swell and fill with fluid. The swollen blood vessels can put extra strain on your heart and increase blood pressure.
Foods Excluded from the DASH Diet
The DASH diet also excludes some foods that can increase high blood pressure, as well as the risk of hypertension. The foods the DASH diet excludes are:
- saturated fats
- red meat
Caffeine Limits in the DASH Diet
It is also recommended that hypertension patients limit coffee and caffeine to one cup or one serving per day. Studies have proven that drinking more than one cup of coffee per day can increase blood pressure in some hypertension patients.
Smoking and Alcohol Excluded from the DASH Diet
Smoking and alcoholic beverages can also increase blood pressure, and should be avoided by people who have hypertension. Being overweight can also cause high blood pressure, so it is important to maintain a healthy body weight.
Before starting the DASH Diet plan to manage your hypertension, seek advice about regulating your blood pressure with a diet plan from your health care practitioner.