High Blood Pressure Diet
What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure of blood that is pumped into the arteries each time your heart beats. Arteries are the vessels that carry the blood into the heart. Your heart, as the main pump, pushes the blood through the arteries.
Blood pressure is measured in mmHg- milimetres of mercury and it is always reported as two numbers: The first one is the systolic or upper pressure- measured when the heart contracts, the second one is the diasystolic or lower pressure- measured when the heart relaxes.
Anything equal to or above 140/90 mmHg indicates high blood pressure. It could be a case of high upper pressure- 175/75 or of high lower pressure such as 110/105 or high upper and lower pressure like 160/110.
As a rule, the higher the pressure the greater the risk.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure- Hypertension:
For most people, there aren’t any clear symptoms associated with high blood pressure. No wonder it is often called the silent killer. If you are experiencing blurred vision, dizziness, irregular heart beat, headaches and drowsiness, you may want to see a health professional and get your blood pressure checked.
Causes of High Blood Pressure:
High blood pressure is quite common, with 40% of adults in UK having the condition. There is usually not an identifiable cause, however your lifestyle plays an important role in regulating your blood pressure. Risk factors include:
• Being South Asian or Afro-Caribbean
• Lack of exercise
• High amount of salt in your diet
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• High fat diet
For in-depth discussions on lifestyle change, I recommend this high blood pressure information site.
Why Worry About Hypertension?
Complications of high blood pressure can be very serious. Persistent hypertension is one of the main risk factors for heart failure, heart attacks and strokes and it is the leading cause of chronic renal failure. At very high pressures, a person can expect to live no more than a few years and even moderate blood pressure can lead to shortened life expectancy.
High Blood Pressure Diet:
• Reduce the saturated and trans fats in your diet and cholesterol.
• Have 4 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables as they are a good source of potassium, fiber and manganese.
• Take potassium through a healthy balanced diet rather than supplements as high doses of potassium can be harmful.
• Reduce salt intake as the sodium in salt is bad for your health. 1500mg or less a day is recommended for better blood pressure.
• Drink plenty of water as the body’s response to chronic dehydration can be hypertension.
• Increase fiber intake through whole grains: high fiber cereals, breads and pastas.
• Have moderate amounts of meat, fish and poultry every day for protein and manganese.
• Low fat dairy products are also part of a DASH diet plan as they provide you with protein and calcium.
• Being overweight is a risk factor for hypertension. A lower GI diet is generally a healthy option and does help in weight loss, so keeping an eye on glycemic index values of carbohydrates would be helpful in avoiding the high blood pressure.
Pierdomenico SD, Di Nicola M, Esposito AL, et al. (June 2009). “Prognostic Value of Different Indices of Blood Pressure Variability in Hypertensive Patients”. American Journal of Hypertension 22 (8): 842–7. doi:10.1038/ajh.2009.103.
http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/healthissues/healthyheart/bloodpressure/ High Blood Pressure Diet .
Beilin, et al., 1996, Alcohol & Hypertension – Kill or Cure?, Journal of Human Hypertension, Suppl 2:S1-5.
Guyton & Hall (2005). Textbook of Medical Physiology (7th ed.). Elsevier-Saunders. p. 220. ISBN 0-7216-0240-1. OCLC 213041516.