October 21, 2018

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Why hypertension diet is important when medications are available?

It is a well established fact that hypertension or high blood pressure may not be cured. But it can easily be kept inside accepted level and almost everyone can lead a normal life. So when your doctor says you have high blood pressure, the first thing s/he will tell you that what you need to do for lowering blood pressure.

You will need to do several things to lower your blood pressure. Your doctor may also prescribe drugs to lower blood pressure. But one thing I can guarantee that you will be advised to bring some changes in your lifestyle. It’s true that drugs can lower your blood pressure. But relying only on drugs is never a recommended method.

Medications used to treat high blood pressure are usually well tolerated. But these medications may have some side effects like weakness, fatigue, headache, constipation, extra urination and erectile dysfunction (ED). Please remember, not everyone go through same experience and high blood pressure itself can cause erectile dysfunction (ED). This is why a good doctor always says; try to take as less medications as you can and at the same time control your blood pressure.

Here comes the role of changing lifestyle. Along with active lifestyle there are some foods that can lower blood pressure. These are known as hypertension diet.

What is the best food to eat for high blood pressure and what is DASH diet plan?

Before discussing on hypertension diet, I would like to remind you that if you have risk of developing hypertension or you have pre-hypertension then healthy diet may help to lower hypertension. But if you have already developed hypertension then diet alone may not work. Though it will help to lower blood pressure and you may need lower dose of medications. So always follow you doctor’s advice.

Let’s come to the point, hypertension diet. It’s also known as DASH diet, which is short form of Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Main concept of DASH diet is you consume less salt, saturated fat, red meats, sweets, sugared beverages and you also reduce total fat consumption. At the same time you increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry and fishes. Higher calcium, protein, potassium and magnesium content of these foods help to lower blood pressure.

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Your diet plan may serve controlling hypertension and losing weight both purposes.

You will consume more fiber with whole grains, fruits and vegetables. It may cause digestive problems like bloating and diarrhea. So you should increase fiber consumption gradually. Once you get used to, you will start to feel beauty of healthy diet. Actually DASH diet can also help to reduce weight. So if you are struggling to lose weight and at the same time you need to control hypertension DASH diet is the right choice.

Whole grain foods will supply B vitamins for high blood pressure diet.  So include whole wheat bread and whole grain cereals. Low-fat dairy products are part of DASH diet. Lactose intolerance should not be a problem. You can buy lactase enzyme pills groceries and drugstores or you can buy lactose free milk. Even milk products with added lactase enzyme are also available.

DASH diet to lose weight

DASH diet plan was designed to lower high blood pressure. But this diet plan contains high fiber content foods like whole grain, fruits and vegetables. So keeping daily calorie consumptions in mind you can use DASH diet to lose weight also.

2,000 calories per day DASH plan recommended by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is given below. Understandably you will need to adjust this plan for different calorie requirements, which depends on your weight and weight loss goal.

Food group Food Group (except as noted) Serving Sizes
Grains and grain

products

7–8

1 slice bread

1 cup ready-to-eat cereal*

1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta, or cereal

Vegetables

4–5

1 cup raw leafy vegetable

1/2 cup cooked vegetable

6 ounces vegetable juice

Fruits

4-5

1 medium fruit

1/4 cup dried fruit

1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit

6 ounces fruit juice

Low-fat or fat free

dairy foods

2–3

8 ounces milk

1 cup yogurt

1 1/2 ounces cheese

Lean meats,

poultry, and fish

2 or fewer

3 ounces cooked lean meat,

skinless poultry, or fish

Nuts, seeds, and

dry beans

4–5 per week

1/3 cup or 1 1/2 ounces nuts

1 tablespoon or 1/2 ounce seeds

1/2 cup cooked dry beans

Fats and oils†

2–3

1 teaspoon soft margarine

1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise

2 tablespoons light salad dressing

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Sweets

5 per week

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon jelly or jam

1/2 ounce jelly beans

8 ounces lemonade

* Serving sizes vary between 1/2 cup and 1 1/4 cups. Check the product’s nutrition label.

† Fat content changes serving counts for fats and oils: For example, 1 tablespoon of regular salad dressing equals 1 serving, 1 tablespoon of low-fat salad dressing equals 1/2 serving, and 1 tablespoon of fat free salad dressing equals 0 servings.

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