High blood pressure is one of the chronic lifestyle disorders affecting more than millions of people globally and the number keeps increasing. In fact, people diagnosed with high blood pressure has doubled in the last two decades- a severe health concern that must be addressed, as hypertension is associated with an increased risk of other chronic conditions like heart disease, kidney failure, eye damage and stroke. Hypertension is an extreme stealth condition. You would never know it until your blood pressure is measured or when high blood pressure has already begun to attack vital organs.
Diet is believed to hold a significant role in the development of hypertension; thus, health experts have designed specific dietary strategies to control it. Further, lifestyle changes including dietary modification is a proven way to help control high blood pressure. These changes can help a person lose weight, reduce blood pressure to optimal ranges and lower the chance of heart disease and stroke.
Having a wholesome and balanced diet is recommended for all people with hypertension including those on blood pressure-lowering drugs. A healthy diet is crucial for lowering blood pressure and maintaining optimal levels. Also, several studies have disclosed that adding certain superfoods in the diet, mainly those high in specific nutrients like potassium and magnesium, have a dramatic effect on controlling blood pressure.
Yes, salt certainly has a pivotal role, but there is more to a blood pressure diet than just cutting down on salt intake. Fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, beans, nuts, whole-grain cereals, and healthy fats are attributed to have positive effects on blood pressure.
There isn’t single magic food on this list, rather practising wholesome eating behaviour is good for controlling blood pressure. Several studies have proven that Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, helps to lower blood pressure and enhance overall health.
Here are some answers to your FAQS about the hypertension diet.
What Types Of Foods Are Allowed In The DASH Diet?
The DASH diet mainly focuses on having loads of fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, low-fat dairy, healthy fats, and lean meats. The food can be flavoured with herbs and spices but with very minimal salt (about 1 teaspoon or 6 grams per day).
Can I Take Coffee On The DASH Diet?
The DASH diet doesn’t recommend coffee and it’s known that caffeine may cause a short-term increase in blood pressure in people with uncontrolled blood pressure. However, latest research has claimed that coffee doesn’t increase the long-term risk of high blood pressure. Hence, most healthy adults with normal blood pressure can consume 3-4 cups of coffee per day safely. Also, remember that even a mild rise in blood pressure caused by caffeine intake suggests that people who already have high blood pressure should be more cautious with their coffee intake.
Do I Need To Exercise While On DASH Diet?
Yes, one of many benefits of this diet is that it may greatly aid with weight management by steer clearing processed foods, fatty meats, saturated fats, and sugar-loaded products. However, the DASH diet is more effective at controlling blood pressure when combined with physical activity. As you all know that the benefits of exercise on health are countless. It’s recommended to do 30 minutes of moderate-intensity workout daily.
What About Alcohol Consumption?
Drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol can cause high blood pressure and damage the heart muscle. Regularly having more than 3 drinks per day has been associated with a high risk of hypertension and heart disease. A person on the DASH diet can have alcohol sparingly - 2 or lesser drinks per day for men and 1 or fewer for women.