It’s not unusual for people who’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure to look for ways to lower it.
You don’t need to wait until you’re told you have hypertension to learn how to keep your blood pressure under control. In fact, making some proactive lifestyle changes now can help you avoid having to take medication to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level down the line.
Best Diet for High Blood Pressure
One of the simplest things you can do to prevent the onset of hypertension or to lower your already high blood pressure is to change your diet. In other words, you should alter your diet so that it includes foods that are proven to lower blood pressure, such as:
- Leafy greens
- Red beets
- Skim milk and yogurt
- Fish that have omega-3s
- Dark chocolate
- Olive oil
People who want to avoid hypertension and individuals who already have high blood pressure are often advised to follow the DASH diet, or a low-sodium diet. Whichever route you choose to take, your diet should include plenty of potassium, calcium, magnesium and fiber because they help control your blood pressure.
“DASH” is shorthand for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet was created with the goals of preventing hypertension and helping those with the condition to lower their blood pressure without the need for medication.
There are two DASH diets, a standard version and a low-sodium dietary plan. With the standard DASH diet, you can consume as much as 2,300 mg of sodium every day. If you follow the low sodium version of the diet, you can consume up to 1,500 mg of sodium daily.
Regardless of which DASH diet you ascribe to, your diet will include ample amounts of vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy. Your diet will also include modest amounts of fish, poultry, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. While you can eat red meat, sweets, and fats on the DASH diet, you should limit your intake to small amounts and only eat them on occasion.
Making the switch to a low-sodium diet can go a long way toward keeping your heart healthy and lowering your blood pressure. If you already have hypertension, you’ll be happy to learn that reducing your daily sodium intake just slightly can reduce your blood pressure by as much as 5-6 mm Hg.
Most people on a low sodium diet limit their daily sodium consumption to a maximum of 2,300 mg. For most adults, limiting their sodium intake to 1,500 mg is an even wiser move.
When you’re on a low-sodium diet, it’s imperative to read food labels so you can keep track of the sodium you consume. You should also limit the amount of processed foods you eat because they usually contain an inordinate amount of sodium. It’s advisable to avoid adding salt to your food as well.
Foods to Avoid with High Blood Pressure
Just like there are some foods you should make a point to consume if you want to lower your blood pressure, there are some things you should avoid. Here are some of them:
- Frozen pizza
- Chicken skin
- Cold cuts
- Full-fat dairy goods
- Canned or jarred tomato products
- Canned soups
- Vegetable juices