Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. When a person develops high blood pressure, this force reaches levels that make the heart work harder to pump blood throughout the body. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can cause various illnesses such as atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries), stroke, kidney disease, and/or heart failure.
Along with various factors, such as genetics, family health history, age, and stress, diet plays a significant role in what your blood pressure levels look like. Thus, doctors and medical professionals generally advise that if you want to manage hypertension, you must consume specific foods to reduce blood pressure. Let’s take a closer look at what a high-blood-pressure diet is.
What is the DASH diet?
DASH refers to Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and is a healthy plan that has been created to prevent or treat high blood pressure. The DASH diet consists of foods with an abundance of minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Eating such nutrient-rich food can help you manage the levels of blood pressure. The DASH diet also ensures that you avoid foods that increase blood pressure such as excessively salty food or items that contain unduly amounts of added sugar and saturated fats.
According to studies, the DASH diet can reduce blood pressure levels within a short time span of 2 weeks. This diet also helps reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is also referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol, levels in the blood. Since LDL cholesterol levels and hypertension are two prominent risk factors in a heart stroke and heart disease, this diet can go a long way in keeping you healthy.
A key element of the DASH diet is the focus on sodium intake. Sodium levels in the DASH diet are typically lower than those in a regular diet. If you follow the DASH diet, you must try to restrict yourself to consuming only 2,300 mg of Na in a day, which is equal to the Na available in 1 teaspoon of table salt. You can even follow a version of the DASH diet that further reduces your daily sodium intake.
What do you eat as a part of the DASH diet?
The DASH diet is focused on helping you eat in a balanced manner to improve your heart health. You can easily follow the diet by using food items that are available locally and at your nearby grocery store.
Since the diet aims at encouraging you to eat food for high blood pressure control, it is abundant in foods such as fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. It also includes food groups like fat-free dairy products, poultry, fish, nuts, and beans. As per the DASH diet, foods to avoid with high blood pressure include items that have a high level of saturated fat including full-fat dairy products and some types of meats.
The recommended intake portions for a 2000-calorie-a-day plan under the DASH diet are as follows:
- 6 to 8 portions of grains per day
- 4 to 5 portions of vegetables per day
- 4 to 5 portions of fruits per day
- 2 to 3 portions of low-fat or fat-free dairy products per day
- Less than or up to six 1-ounce portions of lean meats, fish, and poultry per day
- 4 to 5 portions of seeds, nuts, and legumes a week
- 2 to 3 portions of fats and oils per day
- 5, or fewer, portions of added sugars and sweets per week
What do we eat in the DASH diet?
The DASH diet aims at helping you consume foods that will lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health. Overall, as a part of the DASH diet, you must consume the following food:
• Foods that are rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, fibre, and protein
• Foods that have low amounts of saturated fats
• Foods that are low in Na
Which is the best food for hypertension?
To reduce hypertension, you should aim to eat healthy food that is rich in calcium, potassium, and magnesium and avoid items with saturated fat and sodium.
What is a perfect diet for hypertension?
While there is no perfect diet for hypertension, you can follow the DASH diet to ensure you eat balanced and healthy meals and avoid foods that will harm your heart health.
What foods should be avoided with high blood pressure?
If you have hypertension, ideally, you should avoid foods with excessive saturated fat and sodium.
Can a proper diet for hypertension help recover fast?
While the speed of recovery depends on various factors, adopting a healthy diet can put you on the right track to reducing your blood pressure levels.