People diagnosed with hypertension are wise to follow the guidelines outlined for the high blood pressure diet. Not surprisingly, most of the dietary suggestions for controlling high blood pressure are also the same guidelines for healthy nutrition in general. The D.A.S.H. diet has been developed by the NIH, a governmental health organization in the United States.
Maintain a healthy body weight to lower blood pressure
First, it must be understood that 90% of all new high blood pressure diagnoses involve people with a body mass index of over 25. That means that the vast majority of all new patients with high blood pressure are also overweight or obese. So the foods that lower blood pressure are the same foods that help promote normal body mass and health in general
A high blood pressure diet limits sodium intake
A diet for high blood pressure will include a drastic reduction in sodium content. Sodium (salt) is one of the biggest contributors to high blood pressure. Most restaurant prepared foods are high in sodium and so it is a good idea to learn to prepare your own foods at home so that you can properly control the ingredients used.
Eat whole, unprocessed foods
You should avoid processed foods and instead opt for foods that are raw or minimally processed. When foods are processed, they are stripped of their natural vitamins and minerals and usually there are unhealthy ingredients added to the food to increase the shelf life or the flavoring of the product. Processed carbohydrates such as bread and pasta have the bran and germ removed to make the products taste more “fluffy” which significantly reduces their nutritional value.
Take a look at the ingredients label of processed foods and you will most likely see a list of chemicals that you can not pronounce. These chemicals put a strain on your liver and pancreas and increase the risk for high blood pressure. Try to eat fresh foods that are either raw or minimally processed.
Hypertension diets limit simple sugars
Because hypertension is linked to diabetes mellitus, a high blood pressure diet will avoid simple sugars and other foods that cause a spike in blood sugar. Simple carbohydrates like sugars and white bread are quickly broken down in to sugars and over time a diet high in them, usually in common with high body mass index, will lead to diabetes type two and high blood pressure.
The DASH diet lists foods which lower blood pressure which are promoted by the National Institute of Health. The diet roughly corresponds to the same diet that is recommended for general health. That is, a diet that is high in fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and non processed meats.
Avoid alcohol and Cigarettes
Alcohol and cigarettes should be avoided at all costs. Alcohol and nicotine are body toxins that put a strain on the immune system and make it difficult for the body to maintain equilibrium. High blood pressure is highly linked to the use of these substances.
If you have been recently diagnosed with high blood pressure, the good news is that there are simple and straight forward recommendations that you can use to fight the problem. A high blood pressure diet is simple enough to understand, but many people struggle with the day to day application.
Usually, hypertension is the result of unhealthy long term habits that are difficult for many people to change. It is imperative to make a commitment to make the lifestyle and dietary changes necessary to reverse hypertension.