Understanding your diet and high blood pressure

October 9, 2015

Wouldn't it be reassuring to know that by eating delicious, interesting, healthy foods, you could almost certainly prevent a deadly major disease like hypertension? Well, it's true:

Understanding your diet and high blood pressure

Understanding the role your diet plays

There is compelling evidence that a proper diet can reduce the likelihood of developing high blood pressure.

  • First, consider the general trends.
  • Hypertension rates are much higher in modern, fast-moving cultures like ours than in less industrialized parts of the world.
  • The main difference? Diet.
  • We eat huge portions of highly processed foods and minimal amounts of fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed grains.
  • People in less industrialized cultures have simpler, healthier diets.
  • To help illustrate the point, note that hypertension is much more prevalent in Asians living in the United States than in those living in Asian countries.
  • There is the fact that people who maintain a healthy weight are less likely to have hypertension than people who are overweight or obese.
  • Also, vegetarians and those who follow the so-called Mediterranean diet (high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and unsaturated fats) generally have lower than average blood pressure levels.

Adapting the DASH diet

  • There is also emerging evidence that individual foods and nutrients play an important role in either lowering or raising blood pressure.
  • As it turns out, the greatest effects of healing foods come not from changing one or two aspects of your diet but from changing its overall makeup, as you'll see when we talk about the DASH diet.
  • The bottom line: Before you turn to medication, you need to take a good, hard look at what you're eating.
  • Start studying the foods and nutrients that best help in the battle against high blood pressure.
  • Look also at the foods that cause the most damage and avoid those in your diet.
  • Research the most proven eating plan for healthy blood pressure — the DASH plan.

Finally, to best combat high blood pressure, turn your attention to the role of weight loss in managing high blood pressure, and launch into a weight-loss effort. Good luck!

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