What Is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is a significant cause of cardiovascular disease and death. The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association defines high blood pressure as systolic blood pressure (the first number in a blood pressure measurement) less than 140 and diastolic blood pressure (the second number in a blood pressure measurement) less than 90. Several modifiable risk factors for high blood pressure include an unhealthy diet, overweight and obesity, a lack of physical activity, alcohol consumption, and other factors.
Foods That Reduce Hypertension
Two diets have been well-studied for reducing blood pressure:
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It also includes fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils. The diet has limitations on high levels of saturated fats, including fatty meats, higher-fat dairy products, certain oils, and simple. Several studies have demonstrated that this diet can reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. You can review eating plans for the DASH diet at https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/education/dash-eating-plan For our patients, we have meal planning for the DASH diet.
Mediterranean Diet-this well-researched diet is characterized by whole grain and brown rice products, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy products, olive oil, moderate alcohol intake, especially red wine, moderate consumption of fish, poultry, eggs, potatoes, and sweets, and limited intake of red meat. You can review menu planning for the Mediterranean Diet at https://www.nutrition.va.gov/docs/UpdatedPatientEd/Mediterraneandiet.pdf For our patients, we have extensive meal planning for the Mediterranean diet.
Limit Your Salt Intake
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 90% of Americans consume excess sodium. The AHA recommends that most adults (especially those with high blood pressure) consume less than 1500 mg per day of sodium. Most food sources of sodium are processed, packaged, and from eating out at restaurants. To assess your sodium intake, it is essential to read labels on food packages and menu labeling at restaurants. You can also consider the use of salt substitutes when cooking at home that contain potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride, as they have been shown to lower blood pressure. However, check with your doctor first before using salt substitutes, especially if you have kidney disease, diabetes, or use medications that affect blood potassium levels.
Dr. Mark Stengler NMD, MS, is a bestselling author in private practice in Encinitas, California, at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine. His newsletter, Dr. Stengler’s Health Breakthroughs, is available at www.americasnaturaldoctor.com His clinic website is www.markstengler.com
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