DASH Diet: Foods To Eat To Lower High Blood Pressure Reading

DASH Diet for Hypertension

What is Hypertension or High Blood Pressure?

Hypertension, also known as high or raised blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure. Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of the body in the vessels. Each time the heartbeats, it pumps blood into the vessels. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as it is pumped by the heart. The higher the pressure the harder the heart has to pump.

Acute causes of high blood pressure include stress, but it can happen on its own, or it can result from an underlying condition, such as kidney disease. Unmanaged hypertension can lead to a heart attack, stroke, and other problems.

What are the risk factors of High Blood Pressure?

The common risk factors for hypertension include the following:

  • Obesity

  • Drinking too much alcohol

  • Smoking

  • Family history

Lifestyle factors are the best way to address high blood pressure. Beta-blockers are a common treatment for hypertension.

DASH Diet: Foods for High Blood Pressure

  • Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet said Ms. Pavithra N Raj, Chief Dietician, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital Yeshwanthpur.
  • The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods; includes meat, fish, poultry, nuts, and beans; and is limited in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, red meat, and added fats.

DASH diet: Foods for Lower Blood Pressure

  • Water: Drinking adequate amounts of water is, quite simply, one of the healthiest, cheapest, and most effective ways that you can help lower your blood pressure. Chronic dehydration causes blood vessels to constrict, which helps the body conserve water by reducing water loss through perspiration, urination, and respiration.

  • Salt or Sodium: Foods in a natural state, Use iodized Table- salt - 1 teaspoon per day. (5gms)

Sodium rich food to be avoided

  • Salt, baking powder, canned foods, preserved foods, salted pickles, papads- all varieties, salted chips, nuts, popcorn and biscuits

  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)/ Ajinomoto, soup cubes, noodles and pasta
  • Cheese (commercial), khoae
  • Commercial salad dressing, sauces, aerated and soft drinks.
  • Proprietary drinks.
  • Dried fish, dried fruits (cashew and pista), and fresh coconut.

Healthy drinks for managing blood pressure (High/Low)

  1. Hibiscus Tea: Anthocyanin’s and other antioxidants in hibiscus tea may work together to keep blood vessels resistant to damage that causes them to narrow.
  2. Green Tea: Green tea is so effective at combating high blood pressure is the polyphenols it contains. Polyphenols are a group of powerful, plant-based nutrients. They can be sourced from a variety of foods but green tea is by far the richest source.
  3. Pomegranate Juice: Lowers high blood pressure, improves cholesterol, and even decreases plaques in your arteries.
  4. Beet Root Juice: These cause the arteries to relax and open resulting in a lowered blood pressure. Drinking 250ml beetroot juice a day can lower BP by 7.7/5.2mmHg (beet juice with 2 carrots, 1 granny smith apple, and 1 cucumber can be a good combination)
  5. Celery Juice: Celery juice contains the compound 3-n-butylphthalide, or phthalide, which contributes to the vegetable’s taste and aroma. As a chemical affecting the body, phthalide helps relax the smooth muscles in the walls of the blood vessels, Blood pressure decreases as the blood vessels dilate and allow blood to flow easier and more freely. (Celery combines this with apple, carrot, and beetroot for a super juice.)
  6. Pineapple Juice: Pineapple juice reduces hypertension due to the adequate presence of potassium and a lesser amount of sodium. (A cup of pineapple juice contains about 1 milligram of sodium and 195 milligrams of potassium.
  7. Bananas: Eating foods that are rich in potassium always help in lowering blood pressure, and this makes bananas a great option.
  8. Broccoli: Rich in magnesium, calcium and potassium, broccoli is a great source of regulating and controlling blood pressure. Broccoli sprouts are rich in compounds that help in reducing damage to the arteries.
  9. Oatmeal: It is a high-fibre, low-fat, and low-sodium meal that helps in keeping your blood pressure on an optimum level.
  10. Onion: Onions contain prostaglandin A. This can dilate blood vessels, reduce blood vessel resistance, decrease blood viscosity and improve microcirculation, still does restrain the substance that increases blood pressure. Onion skin contains quercetin, a plant pigment that can help reduce blood pressure and prevent arteries from clogging.
  11. Flaxseed: is very effective in reducing blood pressure. Even if you are on medication for high blood pressure, consuming flaxseed in a variety of food will benefit you greatly. Though it is still unclear what in flaxseed may be responsible for the blood pressure reduction, it is believed that any or all of these four compounds: alpha-linolenic acid, lignans, peptides, and fibre, can be responsible.
  12. Almonds: The benefits of almonds need no introduction. They are a rich source of protein, fibre and magnesium. It is their high magnesium content that makes them so effective in reducing blood pressure. A lack of magnesium in the diet is often associated with high blood pressure. Consuming a few almonds every day can help in maintaining blood pressure on an optimum level.

However, you should be careful too as consuming too little quantity of salt than the normal requirement can also be problematic, causing hyponatremia and disorientation, sometimes cramps in the legs can also be caused. So you must not cut off the sodium intake completely as it is an essential mineral that is involved in many important functions of the body, including cellular function, fluid regulation, and electrolyte balance and maintaining blood pressure. Also when a person is eating excess salt, he/she needs to drink plenty of water such that the electrolyte balance happens and the excess of salt is being thrown out in the urine.

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