Also called as High Blood Pressure, Hypertension is a chronic condition that is characterized by an additional pressure that is exerted by the blood vessels on the artery walls. And even though a mild pressure is negligible, high amounts of pressure placed on the arteries could potentially cause permanent damage to the blood vessels which would in turn lead to several life threatening complications like heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, loss of vision or heart failure etc.
The thing about hypertension is that it is hardly noticeable until the symptoms aggravate. And though the condition can be controlled with medications, a proper diet and exercise regime would do wonders in controlling the blood pressure levels.
Top Dietary Changes of Hypertension
The DASH Diet
Individuals with hypertension are usually recommended he DASH diet which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The diet focuses on an appropriate eating plan that would reduce the intake of sodium, saturated fats, fat and cholesterol, and increase the intake of nutrients like calcium, magnesium and potassium. Here are a few excerpts from this diet plan.
Decreased Sodium Intake
Decreasing the sodium content in meals would effectively decrease the blood pressure levels. Studies have claimed that individuals suffering from hypertension would need to intake no more than 1500 mg of sodium on a day to day basis.This essentially means limiting the amount of salt you add to your cooked dishes (substitute with natural seasonings) and staying away from processed foods that usually contain plenty of sodium.
Decreased Fat Intake
Individuals who reduce the intake of Trans fat and saturated fat can control their blood pressure levels and thwart hypertension (and its effects) to a great extent. But the body would definitely need some amount of fat to produce energy. The best alternative in this case would be to switch to healthy fats, aka foods rich in dietary fats (including both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats). And some of the best natural sources of these fats include foods like fishes (particularly tuna and salmon), olive oil, flax seeds (and flax seed oil), almonds, avocados and natural peanut butter etc.
Increased Fiber Intake
Individuals suffering from hypertension can benefit from taking up to 35 grams of fiber on a daily basis. Fiber is known to control the blood pressure levels in the body, thereby curbing hypertension and its effects effectively.Accordingly, some of the best natural sources of fiber that need to be incorporated in the daily diet include whole grains, dried herbs, peppers, spices, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, nuts, beans and soybeans etc.
Increased Potassium Intake
Excess amounts of potassium in the body can regulate its water balance effectively. This in turn would reduce hypertension and control its symptoms to an extent.Individuals suffering from high blood pressure can increase their potassium intake to at least 4.7 grams per day. And the best way to do this is to opt for potassium rich foods like potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables, fruits and leafy green veggies etc.
Increased Intake of Magnesium
Upping the daily intake of magnesium is known to benefit individuals with hypertension. Magnesium can effectively modulate the vascular tone and reduce the outer vascular resistance. This in turn would have a subduing effect on the blood pressure levels and would reduce them significantly.It is considered wise to opt for foods rich in magnetism rather than supplements in order to combat hypertension. Some natural sources of magnesium include fish, nuts, dark leafy vegetables, beans, lentils, avocados, whole grains, low fat dairy products, bananas and dry fruits etc.