Tips For Using Diet To Control Blood Pressure
Fiddling with diet to control cholesterol makes perfect sense. After all, some of the cholesterol that ends up in arteries starts out in food. Changing your diet to control blood pressure doesn’t seem quite so straightforward. Yet food can have a direct and sometimes dramatic effect on blood pressure.
Salt certainly plays a role. But there is far more to a blood pressurefriendly diet than minimizing salt intake. Fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, beans, nuts, whole-grain carbohydrates, and unsaturated fats also have healthful effects on blood pressure.
There isn’t a single “magic” food in this list. Instead, it’s the foundation for an all-around healthful eating strategy that is good for blood pressure and so much more. Rigorous trials show that eating strategies such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, DASH variants like the OmniHeart diet, and Mediterranean-type diets lower blood pressure in people with hypertension and those headed in that direction. They also help prevent some of the feared consequences of high blood pressure.
Top 2 Dairy Superfoods In The Dash Diet
Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese may be an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients, but if you are on the DASH diet, you should make sure that the dairy products you are buying are low-fat or fat-free. For instance, low-fat or fat-free plain yogurt can boost the amount of dairy you consume while limiting fat intake. Adding fruit increases the health benefits. Best of all, yogurt can be used for everything from breakfasts to desserts to sauces. One cup of fat-free yogurt contains 49% of your recommended daily intake of calcium, 12% of your daily magnesium, and 18% of the potassium you need each day.
The DASH diet also recommends adding more skim milk to your diet. Skim milk is low in fat as well as being rich in calcium.
Add These 20 Foods To Your Diet To Lower Blood Pressure
A staggering 108 million Americans thats nearly half of the population are struggling with high blood pressure, the CDC says, which means they are at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and other life-altering health consequences along the way.
Skipping the salt and squeezing in some regular workouts can help keep your blood pressure from reaching dangerous levels, but it takes a more proactive approach to keep your blood pressure under control in the long run.
Don’t Miss: What Is A Dangerously High Blood Pressure
Worst Foods For High Blood Pressure
If you suffer from high blood pressure, know you’re not alone. According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of American adults actually have high blood pressure but don’t know it, as most of the time, there aren’t many obvious symptoms. If you do have high blood pressure and it’s left untreated, your circulatory system can be severely damaged and it can lead to other serious issues such as heart attack and stroke.
There are things you can do to help control your blood pressure, and that starts with the foods you’re eating. Your best bet? To avoid the worst foods that make your blood pressure worse. So we went ahead and rounded up a list of the 13 worst foods for high blood pressure so you can eliminate these culprits from your diet once and for all. Instead, stock up on the healthy foods that help lower your blood pressure! And while you’re working toward making healthier life changes, check out What Happens to Your Body When You Drink a Smoothie Every Day.
There is tons of evidence out there that high sodium intake is associated with a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. Potato chips are the ultimate salty snack, and if you find yourself eating potato chips regularly, you’re going to end up setting yourself up for disaster. One study found a connection between eating potato chips and an increase in heart disease.
Best And Worst Foods For Healthy Blood Pressure
Healthy blood pressure is linked to a healthy heart and a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. What you eat can directly impact your blood pressure by raising or lowering it. Read on for the best and worst foods to eat for healthy blood pressure.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is referred to as the “silent killer,” because it usually has no symptoms but can develop over many years and then lead to a life-threatening event such as a heart attack or stroke.
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force of blood flowing through blood vessels. If the force becomes too high, it raises blood pressure. It’s not entirely clear what causes high blood pressure, but it is clear that certain foods can lead to higher blood pressure. Specifically, foods high in sodium. Sodium holds onto water in the body, and the extra water puts added pressure on blood vessels, causing blood pressure to rise.
Gaining weight can also raise blood pressure, so pay attention to overall calorie intake, in addition to sodium, to help maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
Read Also: Claritin And High Blood Pressure Medications
Whole Grain Foods That Lower Blood Pressure
Bread, cereal, pasta, and other foods with carbs and starches can come in whole grain or refined grain versions. Whole grains are full of dietary fiber. Thats why theyre a lot better for your body than foods made with refined white flour. Switch to whole grain versions of foods you already eat. For example, go for whole wheat bread rather than white. Choose brown rice over white.
Shopping tip: Some packaged foods contain a whole grain seal. If you dont see it, check the ingredient list. If the first ingredient listed contains the word whole, that item likely contains mostly whole grain.
Look for whole grain versions of these foods:
What To Eat When You Have High Blood Pressure
Do more than just cutting back on salt.
Whether youre newly diagnosed with high blood pressure or its something youve been managing for a while, you likely already know that curbing your sodium intake is key to helping you keep your high blood pressure in check.
But you can do more than just cut back on the salt you add to your food and watch your sodium from packaged and processed foods. Theres actually a diet that naturally helps lower your blood pressure. Its called the DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension .
You May Like: How Accurate Are Blood Pressure Apps
Other Fruits And Vegetables
Adding more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables of all kinds to your diet can help lower your blood pressure, Patton says. And, research shows it could help you avoid developing hypertension. In fact, the DASH diet, an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, suggests eating four to five servings each of fruits and vegetables every day.
Yogurt Fruits And Nuts
An 8-ounce carton of plain, fat-free yogurt supplies nearly half of your daily calcium and about 10 percent of your recommended magnesium and potassium. While yogurt alone makes a quick breakfast, you’ll boost its impact on your blood pressure by adding extra ingredients. Stir wheat germ into low-fat vanilla yogurt, spoon it over sliced apples, blueberries, strawberries or bananas and toss some walnuts or almonds on top. The nuts provide magnesium, apples and bananas contribute potassium and magnesium, and strawberries are as rich in anthocyanins as blueberries. Carry breakfast with you by rolling yogurt and any combination of fruits, nuts and oat granola inside a whole-grain tortilla.
Don’t Miss: Does Claritin D Raise Blood Pressure
Get The Facts On Alcohol And Blood Pressure
Many of us like to have a drink when we go out with friends or family. The right concoction can make a delicious dish even better or help set the mood for a fun evening. But alcohol and blood pressure dont always mix well.
Drinking a lot can raise your blood pressure, which puts you at greater risk for a wide variety of further cardiovascular issues. So when you decide to drink, its important not to have too much.
How much is too much? If youre a woman, try not to have more than one drink per day. For men, no more than two drinks per day. A standard drink is a 12 oz. beer, a 5 oz. glass of wine or 1.5 oz. of spirits.
However, if youve already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may advise you on a different daily limit, or suggest you cut out alcohol completely.
And just to clear something up: Red wine isnt necessarily good for your heart the research is still unclear and we still suggest moderation.
Medicines For High Blood Pressure
Some people with high blood pressure need to take medication to lower their blood pressure, as well as making the healthy lifestyle changes above. Talk to your doctor about whether you need medication for high blood pressure.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners also recommends that you regularly review with your doctor or specialist any medications you are taking for high blood pressure or high cholesterol to assess the ongoing benefits and risks.
The RACGP recommends that if you have raised blood pressure and are concerned about cardiovascular disease but are low risk, talk to your doctor or specialist about whether the benefits will outweigh the risks involved with taking medication to lower your blood pressure.
For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
Recommended Reading: Does Claritin D Raise Blood Pressure
What To Avoid Or Limit To Prevent High Blood Pressure
In addition to eating heart-healthy foods, you can further decrease your risk of developing high blood pressure by reducing consumption or eliminating the following foods and beverages:
- Red meat
- Sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages
Salt, or sodium, is probably the key item on your list of foods to limit and possibly a fairly simple one to minimize. One study found that people who followed the DASH diet and also cut down on their sodium intake had significantly lower blood pressure measurements.
To reduce your intake of sodium, eat fresh foods and avoid frozen meals since frozen meals usually have high levels of salt. Use other flavorful spices and herbs to flavor your food instead of salt. Read the labels on any packaged food item and make a note of the sodium per serving number.
Additionally, increasing your intake of potassium can counterbalance the effects of salt. So be sure to add foods high in potassium such as bananas and sweet potatoes to your list of things to eat.
For more information on how to prevent high blood pressure, call Danvers Family Doctors, P.C., in Danvers, Massachusetts, or make an appointment online.
You Might Also Enjoy…
Dash Diet: Reduce Hypertension And Boost Heart Health Through Diet
Hypertension, or high blood pressure as its more commonly known, is a serious health problem that affects many Americans. Over time, the damage that it causes to blood vessels can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and other medical conditions.
High blood pressure can go unnoticed for years, which is why it is called the silent killer. Many people do not display symptoms until it is too late. A diet designed to fight high blood pressure is one of the many ways you can reduce your risk of developing hypertension.
The DASH diet is one method. This diet aims to reduce high blood pressure by reducing your intake of fat, sodium, and alcohol. If youre looking to reduce your blood pressure, this diet also recommends eating foods that are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
The DASH diet also recommends introducing more low-fat protein into your diet, as well as whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables. This includes leafy greens, potatoes, beets, and fruits like berries and bananas. Drinking skim milk is another way to reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure as well. Eating oatmeal at breakfast is also a good start!
Also Check: High Blood Pressure Mayo
What Is The Dash Diet
The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is one of the most effective dietary ways to lower your blood pressure. The DASH diet is low in sodium , high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and low in foods that are high in saturated fats. has been ranked the healthiest overall diet by a panel of experts from U.S. News and World Reports, says Jeff Landsman, MD, primary care provider at Mercy Personal Physicians in Lutherville, Maryland.
Fish, chicken, and vegetable protein are highlighted as great choices, with an emphasis on the whole grains that provide so many of the unique dietary fibers that we need, says , Ph.D., emeritus professor of nutrition at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
This diet for high blood pressure, which has been studied for almost 30 years, is proven to both lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of nearly all chronic diseases. In fact, in a recent meta-analysis that involved over 900,000 subjects, The DASH dietary pattern was associated with a nearly 20% decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, says Jones.
Whats more, many people have success following the DASH eating plan because it contains the foods theyre used to, and it follows familiar eating patterns, which greatly improves their chance of long-term success.
How Does Diet Play A Role In Managing High Blood Pressure
An unhealthy diet that’s high in sodium, saturated fat, and sugar may increase your risk of high blood pressure. These nutrients contribute to hypertension in a variety of ways. For example, saturated fat increases cholesterol levels, including “bad” LDL cholesterol, that can block your arteries and slow blood flow.
While it’s important to minimize these nutrients in your diet to decrease your risk of or manage your high blood pressure, it’s also important to eat more foods that lower blood pressure.
Foods that lower blood pressure contain specific nutrients that are scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure. These nutrients include:
- vitamin C
While the words “blood pressure-lowering diet” may conjure images of unseasoned egg whites and limp steamed veggies, getting your blood pressure into a healthy range is more than just doableit can be downright delicious.
Here is a list of the 20 healthiest foods that lower blood pressure. And for a more structured eating plan, consider trying the DASH Diet or “The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension” Diet. This expert-approved, heart-healthy diet is one of the top-recommended diets to lower blood pressure.
Also Check: Blood Pressure Changes During Exercise
Pick Dark Chocolate Berries Or A Banana Instead
In addition to reading nutrition labels, consider switching up your daily treats by choosing one of these tasty alternatives:
- Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has many flavonoids, a natural antioxidant that can cause your blood vessels to open more widely to support better cardiovascular health.
- Berries. Berries are a rich source of polyphenols, another kind of antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure.
- Bananas. Bananas have a lot of potassium, which helps counteract the effects of sodium and reduces tension in your blood vessels.
As with all things, moderation is key. Chocolate, berries and bananas still contain sugar and you dont want to go on a snack attack. But making smart changes to your snacking habits are easy ways to work in foods that can help reduce your blood pressure and satisfy your hunger.
What Are The Complications Of High Blood Pressure
The longer high blood pressure is poorly controlled, the greater the damage to various tissues and organs in the body. Excessive pressure against the vessel wallscaused by high blood pressurecan lead to several long-term and potentially fatal consequences.
Heart attack or stroke: Hardening and thickening of the arteries cause poor blood perfusion to the heart or brain.
Aneurysm: Occurs due to the weakening of blood vessels that eventually bulge and rupture. This can be fatal.
Heart failure: High blood pressure requires the heart to pump harder to overcome the increased pressure. This causes the cardiac muscles to thicken and become inefficient, leading to heart failure.
Kidney failure: Similar to the heart, the kidneys are also sensitive to blood pressure and play a major role in blood pressure maintenance.
You May Like: Does Claritin D Cause High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure Diet
Healthy food is like medication for high blood pressure. Except you dont need a prescription, and you wont have to worry about side effects. Just choose wisely, eat, and repeat.
Whether you follow DASH or chart your own course, try to focus on what you can eat instead of what you cant. Like any other healthy diet, a diet to lower blood pressure will emphasize fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding fats, fried foods, and salty snacks.
Stiffening Of The Arteries
Some physicians consider the most authentic form of pseudo-resistant hypertension to be caused by stiffened brachial arteries that prevent the blood pressure cuff from obtaining a true reading. If your doctor suspects this form of pseudo-resistant hypertension, they might consider other ways to measure your blood pressure.
Read Also: Does Vinegar Lower Your Blood Pressure
Read Also: Does Claritin D Raise Blood Pressure