Diet and Foods for High Blood Pressure, Hypertension
High blood pressure is a silent killer and one should try to maintain blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg to prevent the risk of heart diseases which is caused due to high blood pressure. In America an average diet contains good amount of fat, salt, cholesterol and calories, and the lifestyle of people is very sedentary, that raises the risk of heart diseases.
Around 50% of the people who suffer from high blood pressure are not aware of their condition but certain groups of people are at a higher risk such as
1. People who smoke (active or passive)
2. Suffering from diabetes
3. Family history of high blood pressure.
4. Obesity or overweight
5. Leading a sedentary lifestyle or being physically inactive.
6. Men above the age of 45 years and women above 55 years.
7. People who have a high cholesterol level
8. Women taking oral contraceptives
9. People who belong to African American group
10. Taking excess quantities of alcohol or other beverages.
What to avoid in the diet to prevent the condition?
Sodium: Reduce intake of high sodium diet. Butter milk, pickles, cured meats, sausages, canned fish such as salmon and tuna should be avoided. Processed meats, packaged food items such as frozen dinners, pizzas and pot pies are high in sodium and it should be avoided. One should not take more than 2,300 mg of sodium in diet.
A simple method of testing high sodium content in food is – if you can taste salt in the food then it contains a good amount of it. Even salt substitutes may not be safe. One should be cautious and avoid any substitute without the approval of a medical practitioner.
Bad cholesterol: Reduce intake of food items containing bad cholesterol. Certain cooking oils can have bad cholesterol. A person requires not more than 150 mg of cholesterol each day.
Reduce intake of fat: Reduce intake of food which is high in fat. Canned soups and packaged soups contain preservatives and chemicals should be avoided. 27% of the calories should come from fat and 18% of the calories in a day should come from proteins. Cheese products are also high in fat.
Drugs and medicines: One should not take drugs such as aspirin which have anti clotting properties. Such drugs raise the risk of heart attacks.
Nicotine: Reduce intake of nicotine. The chemicals in cigarette constrict the blood vessels and it can narrow the veins to increase blood pressure.
What to include in the diet?
1. One should include good amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in diet to reduce fat intake.
2. Take low fat milk and milk products.
3. Include wholegrain products in diet.
4. Fish and poultry can be included.
5. Include fiber in diet, up to 30 mg of fiber should be included each day in diet. One can get fibers from whole wheat, cereals, oatmeal, popcorn etc.
6. Broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, peas and beans can be included in the diet as it contains good amount of magnesium and potassium.
7. Apples, mangoes, apricots, bananas and grapefruits are also high in potassium and magnesium.