More Diet Advice For High Blood Pressure
Not Simply A Matter Of Reducing Sodium Intake
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, reducing sodium intake has a limited effect on on hypertensive people under the age of 45 and a minimal effect on people with normal blood pressure. Meanwhile, a recent clinical trial in the US found that a moderate sodium intake combined with a higher intake of potassium, calcium and magnesium (by eating more fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy products), offers more significant benefits for blood pressure that sodium restriction alone.
Reduce Blood Pressure By Eating More Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium
Potassium works in conjunction with sodium to regulate blood pressure. Good sources of potassium include many
fruits, such as cantaloupe, bananas, kiwi-fruit, oranges, watermelon and dried apricots. Choose vegetables like potatoes, spinach, and zucchini.
Magnesium, the anti-stress mineral, also works closely with sodium and potassium. Good sources of magnesium include: figs, lemons, grapefruit, yellow corn, whole grains, almonds, nuts, seeds, dark green vegetables and apples.
Calcium and magnesium work together for good cardiovascular health. Good sources of calcium include: low-fat dairy products, soybeans, sardines, salmon, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried beans, dark leafy green vegetables.
Other Foods That May Reduce Blood Pressure
Other nutrients that may help to reduce raised blood pressure include omega-3 fats (found in oily fish, flaxseeds), garlic, and soluble fiber (found in apples, oat bran, dried beans and vegetables).
More Eating Tips To Reduce Blood Pressure
- Reduce Your Intake of Meat
Increase portion sizes of vegetables, rice, pasta, and dry beans in meals.
Try casseroles or stir-fry dishes, which have less meat, more vegetables and beans.
Include two or more meat-free or vegetarian-type meals in your weekly diet.
- Reduce Your Consumption of Alcohol
If you have high blood pressure, limit your alcohol intake to no more than one ounce per day. This equates to 2oz of 100-proof whiskey, one 8 fl oz glass of wine, or two 12 fl oz glasses of beer.
- Reduce Your Intake of Caffeine
Drink fat-free milk with lunch or dinner, instead of soda, sugar-sweetened tea, or coffee.
Lifestyle Changes To Reduce Blood Pressure
Other ways of lowering blood pressure include the following lifestyle changes:
Take Regular Exercise
Regular long term exercise reduces stress, improves general cardiovascular health and helps to control elevated blood pressure. However, it is essential to consult your doctor before starting an exercise program, as anyone with undiagnosed severe hypertension who starts a vigorous training program is at risk of a heart attack. So start slowly and over time build up to about 20-30 minutes a day.
Smoking is an independent risk factor for hypertension. Smoking 20 cigarettes a day doubles your normal risk of a heart attack and increases the risk of a stroke fivefold.
Learn To Relax
Stress has an adverse affect on blood pressure, as well as many other diseases. We may not be able to eliminate stress, but we can learn to manage it successfully. As stated above, exercise is very beneficial for stress reduction, as well as alternative therapy treatments such as stress counseling, hypnosis, aromatherapy, massage and acupuncture.
Get Your Blood Pressure Measured
As there are very few noticeable symptoms of hypertension, someone with high blood pressure can feel perfectly okay. The only guaranteed way of assessing your blood pressure is to have it measured. Simply drop by any health clinic or center – it only takes a moment. If you are aged 40 years or over, you should have a blood pressure check-up once a year, especially if you smoke, drink heavily, or suffer from high cholesterol or severe stress.