High blood pressure diet plan

High blood pressure is known as the silent killer. It is known as such due to the fact that many people never know they have the disease until they have a severe complication of it. High blood pressure affects over 72 million adults in the United States on average. That means that on average every one in three people will have high blood pressure or hypertension. High blood pressure also kills over 320,000 people on an annual basis. The sad thing about this disease is that it is fairly well controlled with diet, exercise and medication in most cases. The complications and deaths could be avoided in the majority of the cases above if the person had known of their condition and intervention had ensued.

So what exactly is high blood pressure and what readings are considered high? High blood pressure is the reading of the amount of pressure in the arteries of the circulatory system. The systolic reading or the top reading when you go into the doctors office is the highest amount of pressure that is put upon the arteries. The bottom number or diastolic reading is the minimum amount of pressure that is placed on the arteries. This is why the bottom or diastolic reading is much more important and is watched closer by health professionals. Normal readings are considered to be below 140/90 for most adults. Readings that are consistently above those numbers would go along with a diagnosis of hypertension or high blood pressure.

Diet plays a big part in the control of high blood pressure. The United States Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institute of Health has come up with a diet that is recommended for people with high blood pressure. This diet is called the DASH eating plan or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This dietary plan includes lowered sodium intake and lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean chicken and fish. It is low in fat as well. There are two plans available for sodium intake. One plans for 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. The other plan includes 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day which is the maximum amount of sodium that is recommended for anyone who has hypertension or high blood pressure.

The DASH dietary plan includes foods that are naturally high in calcium such as fat free milk, fat free or reduced fat yogurt, and reduced fat or fat free cheese. It also recommends foods that are naturally high in potassium, magnesium and fiber such as broccoli, carrots, green beans, green peas, kale, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes. Fruits that are high in potassium that are recommended include apples, apricots, dates, and grapefruit to name a few. The diet states that eating foods that are naturally high in these nutrients help the body combat high blood pressure naturally.

The DASH dietary plan includes for a 1,600 calorie per day diet: 6 servings of grains, 3-4 servings of vegetables, 4 servings of fruits, 2-3 servings of low calorie fat free or reduced fat dairy, 3-6 servings of lean meat or poultry, and 1-2 servings of oils per day. They also recommend 3-4 servings of nuts and legumes per week.

This diet is very high in fresh vegetables and fruits and low fat products. Due to this, it may cause bloating, indigestion, or diarrhea to those who have been accustomed to eating a high fat diet in the past. The NIH recommends changing over to this diet on a gradual basis to keep down the gastrointestinal issues related to this.

The NIH does recommend that in addition to a change in diet that anyone who has high blood pressure start an exercise routine three times a week for 30 minutes a day to help either to lose weight or to improve their cardiovascular status to lower their blood pressure. This can be started doing activity for 5 minutes at a time and building up every few days until you have worked up to 30 minutes. They also recommend that anyone with high blood pressure be followed by a medical professional.

The National Institute of Health and United States Department of Health and Human Services has a large publication on the DASH dietary plan available to anyone who would like more information on this online.

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Last updated on Apr 22nd, 2010 and filed under Cardiovascular Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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