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How Can Diet Help Prevent Hypertension?

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Raised blood pressure (BP) is responsible for 7.6 million deaths per year worldwide. And yes, we did start the article with that information to help people understand how serious the effect of hypertension is on people. In this article, however, we will discuss different diet approaches to improve one’s overall health and veer away from this rather very preventable disease.

We have consulted professionals online, and they each share their knowledge on diets and practices aimed to reduce the risk of hypertension.

According to Borut Udovič, Founder and Marketing Manager of What Brand Review:

Hypertension (HTN) is caused by essential hypertension (95% of cases), which has no identifiable cause which may arise due to genetics, environment, or dietary. 

A diet low in sodium and rich in foods containing potassium, calcium, and magnesium referred to as the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) may help prevent or help normalize high blood pressure. Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can 

lower your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure. 

Dietary modification can help you control it, not cure it. There aren’t 

many rules to follow, just the very basics: 

  • Salt restricted diet – you should consume less than 0.5 grams per day. How do you measure? Simply refrain from sprinkling more salt over an already cooked meal
  • Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables
  • At least one seasonal fruit per day
  • No junk food
  • No tobacco and no harmful consumption of alcohol
  • Add some form of physical activity to your daily routine (if you don’t already do that). 30 minutes brisk walk every morning is sufficient

An expert in the food industry, Jori Patton, Marketing Manager and Designer of Fast Food Menu Prices, has these points to share:

One of the major causes of hypertension has always come from our food and drink intake. Other things like lifestyle, medical history (Chronic disease to vital organs), Family history, and the rest do come into play. Still, the importance of diet can not be overemphasized both in preventing and managing the health condition. 

These are some of the ways diet can help prevent hypertension: 

Watch your Sodium (Salt) Intake

Sodium is well known to increase blood pressure, and most processed and packaged foods/Beverages have high sodium content—even home-cooked dishes. If you must eat processed food, read the label and know what you let in. Watch it while you make your home-cooked dishes or eat out. 

Eat Healthy

Apart from knowing what is not good for you, you should also know what is best for you and focus on them. Eating more diets that consist of Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Whole grains, and low-fat dairy products can help lower one’s blood pressure. 

Watch your Weight

The bigger you get, the more pressure it will take to pump blood all over your big body. Thereby increasing the pressure and overlapping your heart. Eat to lose weight, watch your waistline, and avoid foods with unhealthy cholesterol and fats. 

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

These two are very tricky as the effect varies based on how frequently one consumes them or the amount. For alcohol, moderate drinking is good for your blood pressure, while excessive drinking is bad. As for caffeine spikes up the blood pressure for a non-regular user while the effect is negligible for a regular consumer.

Lisa Richards, Nutritionist from The Candida Diet, suggested food items one can add in their pantry to help alleviate the risk of hypertension:

Coffee

This is a bit surprising, considering the rate at which caffeine can cause blood pressure to rise. However, this information applies to a broad group of coffee drinkers, including those who drink far less than others. Therefore, someone who drinks three or more cups a day may likely experience high blood pressure over someone who drinks one cup every few days, but they are all included in this statement together. 

Flaxseeds

Flaxseed is absorbed best by the body when it is ground as enzymes cannot adequately break apart the outer husk. It can be easily incorporated into any recipe, smoothie, oatmeal, and even some desserts. Flaxseed is high in fiber which helps to improve gut health, remove toxins from the body, and reduce cholesterol. Each of these benefits of fiber would aid in reducing blood pressure as a side effect. 

Supplement

Grape seed extract treats many conditions, from edema, high cholesterol, hypertension, and chronic condition prevention. Doses range for grape seed extract depending on the condition being addressed. The highest dose is to treat edema at 200mg to 400mg, and a maintenance dose of 25mg to 150mg is sufficient for general health. Grape Seed extract can easily be integrated into beverages and smoothies or taken by itself.

Shauna Hatcher, another Nutritionist, this time from NWPH, mentioned simple practices that may save one’s life:

Cutting Down on Sodium Intake

The main component of salt is sodium, a mineral found naturally in foods. Sodium is a chemical that might raise your blood pressure. Other types of sodium can also be found in food. MSG (monosodium glutamate) is another sodium additive used in foods (common in Chinese food). 

When you consume an excessive amount of salt, which contains sodium, your body stores additional water to flush the salt out of your system. This may cause blood pressure to increase in certain persons. The extra water strains your cardiovascular system. 

Incorporate Grains and Vegetables into Your Diet

If you have hypertension, eating a diet full of fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and low-fat dairy while limiting unhealthy fats can drop your blood pressure significantly by up to 11 mm Hg. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is the name given to this eating regimen. 

Cut Down on Alcohol 

Excessive alcohol might affect the muscles in the blood vessels. As a result, they may get narrower. The more liquor you consume, the more likely you will develop hypertension. You are in danger if you drink frequently, especially if you’re above the age of 35.

Trista Best, Dietitian, Balance One Supplements Inc., introduces DASH:

The acronym DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The foundation of the DASH diet is to encourage proper portions and control sodium intake to under 2,300 mg per day.

The diet also emphasizes fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and a moderate amount of whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts. The overall purpose and primary benefit of the DASH diet is to reduce blood pressure for those with hypertension or prehypertension diagnosis. 

It has been found that the diet can also be beneficial for weight loss and overall health due to the focus on balanced portions and food groups. Though it is a beneficial diet, it is best not to start this diet without the direction of your healthcare provider.

There are no known drawbacks to the DASH diet at this time, but it can be a challenge for those consuming previously high sodium and fat diet. 

Backed up by research, Natalie Jurado, Founder of Be Rooted In, imparted information on how we can prevent high blood pressure:

While hypertension is most commonly associated with high cholesterol, genetics, and even stress, there’s one major cause that many people regularly overlook- magnesium deficiency. 

A growing body of research shows that there is a direct relationship between low magnesium levels and hypertension. 

According to the National Institute of Health, magnesium deficiency is much more common than most people realize: 60-70% of the population doesn’t get enough of this critical mineral daily. 

Magnesium impacts blood pressure by helping blood vessels dilate and relax. Magnesium is involved with over 700 different biochemical reactions in the body, leading to an important vascular relaxant called prostaglandin E1. 

Additionally, magnesium lowers the hormone aldosterone, which causes the kidneys to hold on to sodium and water, impacting blood pressure. 

When magnesium levels are low, blood vessels remain constricted, and sodium and water are retained, creating the perfect storm for hypertension. 

Magnesium-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, leafy greens, and almonds. Combining these foods in a smoothie provides an excellent source of magnesium. Be aware that chocolate does contain caffeine, so use it sparingly in the evening.

Conclusion

All these tips and information show that hypertension should not be as big of a threat as it is today if only people would start taking care of their bodies, starting with what and how they eat. We hope you’ll consider trying these approaches to defeat hypertension.