The risk of developing high blood pressure, known as hypertension, increases as we get older. Because high blood pressure puts you at a higher risk of developing heart disease, stroke, ruptured blood vessels and aneurysms, your doctor will suggest a combination of medication and eating a healthy diet to reduce blood pressure. Fortunately, there are also plenty of information about lowering your blood pressure by choosing healthy foods and avoid those that contribute to the disorder
Low-fat dairy products.
Polyunsaturated fat sources.
Whole grain products.
Cut salt out of your diet or greatly reduce consumption. The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine recommends a daily sodium consumption not to exceed 2,400 mg. Most of the sodium in our diet comes in prepared foods such as cottage cheese, soups, snacks and sauces. Read the labels on foods to keep your daily intake within limits and not add table salt to food.
Substitute fresh food for processed foods when given the chance. Preparing your own meat and vegetable products to avoid a heavy dose of sodium and minimize the use of condiments, ketchup, relishes and pickled products, all of which are high in sodium content. Instead, sprinkle mixed bag plenty of food, and using fresh and dried herbs to enhance the flavor. (See Resources.)
Opt for unsaturated fats when eating to reduce blood pressure. Lard, butter, bacon fat, nondairy creamers, coconut oil and other hydrogenated oils add artery-clogging elements to food. Choose healthy alternatives such as olive oil or canola oil in cooking and salad dressings and margarine look for it advertise “no trans fat” on the label.
Eat plenty of lean protein from sources such as white-meat chicken, fish, low-fat milk and egg whites. Bypass processed lunch meat, bacon, sausages and frankfurters, fried food and feed. Remove the yolk from the egg before frying or the use of eggs in baking.
Reduce your consumption of alcohol. While studies show that alcohol in moderation, especially red wine, raise the HDL (good cholesterol) levels, which in turn reduces artery injuries, American Heart Association recommends you limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day, preferably red wine. In this way you will get the maximum effect without promoting other alcohol-related disorders.
Try the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) method to eat to lower blood pressure. Recommended by the American Heart Association as an acceptable diet to reduce high blood pressure, this book ideas for using fruit, vegetables and low-fat whole grain as the basis for a healthy diet. (See Resources.)
Tips and Warnings
See your doctor for a first diagnosis of high blood pressure and follow his advice in caring for your medical condition.