Diet Tips to Reduce and Control High Blood Pressure
Posted by: Tampa Cardio
On: February 23, 2015
Because many blood pressure medications have unpleasant side effects or adverse effects on other areas of a person’s health, many people try to control their high blood pressure simply by changing and monitoring their diet and lifestyle. While losing weight and exercising frequently can both have a large impact on a person’s blood pressure levels, what you put into your body can be just as important as what you do with your body when combating high blood pressure.
Most doctors will recommend a diet referred to as the DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This dietary style recommends a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products while at the same time reducing intake of both cholesterol and saturated fats. The DASH diet is also recommended for lifelong use, however, this does not mean that followers of this diet have to completely eliminate all their favorite foods – it’s okay to cheat and treat yourself once in a long while.
High blood pressure patients are almost always told that they must limit the sodium in their diets if they want to reduce their blood pressure. Even a small reduction of sodium in a person’s diet can have a large effect on their health, and it’s typically recommended that people consume no more than 2,300 mg per day, although this number decreases to 1,500 mg per day for anyone age 51 or older or for people of any age who are African American or who have high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, or diabetes.
People with high blood pressure should also limit their alcohol intake, though there is a fine line between the level of alcohol that can be consumed daily to have either beneficial or harmful effects. Generally a single serving of alcohol daily has actually been proven to lower high blood pressure, though this does not mean that anyone should take up drinking as a high blood pressure solution. More than one drink a day for men and women over 65 and more than two drinks a day for those under 65 is considered harmful, so unless alcohol consumption is heavily moderated it can increase blood pressure by a great deal. Those who already have high blood pressure should also take into account that drinking alcohol while on blood pressure medications can greatly reduce the effectiveness of such medications. Furthermore, keep in mind that the American Heart Association defines a alcoholic drink as a 8 ounce glass of beer, 3 ounce glass of wine or 1 ounce of hard liquor.
Changing one’s diet and lifestyle drastically is never easy for anyone, so below are some tips on how to make the dietary transition smoother:
- Adjust gradually – No one expects you to change your diet overnight and easing yourself into it may be the best option to ensure success.
- Keep a food diary – Keeping track of what and when you’re eating can help highlight potential problems you might not have been aware of.
- Practice smart shopping – Plan healthy grocery lists in advance to ensure you don’t stray from your diet, and always read food labels for nutritional information.
- Try salt substitutes – Certain herbs and spices can add delicious flavor to your food without adding the harmful sodium that salt would.
- Add more potassium to your diet – Potassium can counteract the harmful effects of sodium, and is found in supplemental form as well as in certain fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid processed and fast foods – These foods tend to aggravate hypertension.
The physicians at Tampa Cardiology offer blood pressure assistance as well as the advice of an onsite nutritionist. The most important thing to remember is that changing your diet and lifestyle is a gradual process and takes a lot of hard work, but the results of a longer life and healthier body and mind are always worth the effort.
Get started right away and schedule your appointment online at: www.tampacardio.com
Posted by: Tampa Cardio