What is the High Blood Pressure Diet
What you eat, and do not eat, can have a drastic effect on your blood pressure. Also, if you are overweight you can get your blood pressure under control by simply losing weight. The High Blood Pressure Diet can help with all of this. The simple dietary changes, such as lowering portion sizes and calories, can help you to lose weight and lower you blood pressure, in turn lowering your risk for heart disease.
There are many foods and other dietary factors that can have an effect on you blood pressure. One of those factors called sodium, or salt, has been proven by studies to raise some people's blood pressure. Other studies have suggested that a low sodium diet can be just as effective as medication for some people. Also there have been findings that magnesium, potassium, and fiber can have beneficial effects on your blood pressure. Most vegetables and fruits contain these nutrients and are naturally low in salt. A good source of magnesium can be found in seeds, nuts, lean meats, legumes, and poultry.
How the High Blood Pressure Diet Works
The most popular High Blood Pressure Diet is call DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which started as a study to see how changing a diet alone affected high blood pressure. What the researchers discovered was that those participants who followed the DASH diet had much lower blood pressure in just a matter of weeks. Also discovered was that the DASH diet, which allows 1500 milligrams of sodium, or 2/3 teaspoon of salt, a day had the best effect.
While healthy adults are advised by the Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services to keep their daily sodium intake to 2300 milligrams, people who have high blood pressure, African Americans, and those who are middle aged or older, should keep it no higher than the 1500 milligrams. Research has also found that women who follow the DASH diet are less likely to have coronary artery disease and suffer a stroke.
The DASH diet plan works when you consume a lot of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, poultry, fish, nuts, low-fat dairy, and legumes. That is because they have a great deal of magnesium, potassium, and fiber as well as calcium and protein. Unlike the diet of a typical person, the DASH diet contains less salt (sodium), desserts, sugar, sweetened drinks, and fats as well as processed and red meats.
What Experts Say about the High Blood Pressure Diet
There are as many as seventy million people in the United States who suffer from high blood pressure. Of those, nearly half will see that salt raises their blood pressure versus ten percent of the regular population. Even with these statistics, of the thirty five million Americans with high blood pressure and salt sensitivity, only twenty two percent of them utilized the DASH diet plan. That is down from 1994 when it was thirty percent. Mississippi's Hattiesburgh Health Clinic's Dr. Phillip Mellen sees that we are going in the wrong direction.
The state of affairs has many doctors worried about the overall health of future generations. They also feel that diet and exercise changes are the best way to combat high blood pressure over medications. Professor of epidemiology and public health at Wake Forest University's School of Medicine located in Winston-Salem, N.C., Dr. David C. Goff Jr. points out that there are no side effects to be concerned with in regards to lifestyle changes, but people think it is easier to just pop a pill in and eat what they want.
Sample High Blood Pressure Diet Meal Plan
- 1 Whole wheat bagel
- 2 tbs. Peanut butter
- 1 Orange, medium sized
- 1 c. fat free milk
- Spinach salad:
- 4 c. fresh spinach
- 1 Pear, sliced
- ½ c. Mandarin oranges, canned
- 2 tbs. Low-fat red wine vinaigrette
- 12 Wheat crackers, reduced sodium
- 1 c. Fat-free milk
- 3 oz. Cod, Herb crusted and baked
- ½ c. Brown rice pilaf
- ½ c. Steamed, fresh green beans
- 1 Sourdough roll
- 1 tsp. Trans fat free margarine
- 1 c. Fresh berries w/ chopped mints
- Herbal iced tea
- 4 Vanilla wafers
- 1 c. Low-fat yogurt