High blood pressure or hypertension affects a quarter of American adults. Studies show that some people are at an increased risk of developing the condition because of their sex, race or gender. It is dangerous as it makes the heart to strain when pumping blood to the body.
The act causes the arteries become less elastic while delivering nutrients and oxygen. In the long run, it damages the vessels, making them unable to provide enough blood to body organs thus limiting their proper functioning. In that case, one is susceptible to heart attacks, kidney failure, and brain problems. The good news is that one can manage it.
Contrary to what many people believe, lifestyle modification may be the best way to control mild hypertension. If your condition needs proper medication, then changing your lifestyle may reduce the medical requirements you need. You need to know that a healthy eating style is essential in controlling hypertension. Nutrients such as protein fiber and potassium enhance HBP deflation, hence reducing you the health risks associated with the condition.
While it may be difficult to give your sugary and fatty foods, easing up to real programs such as the DASH is okay. Your chances of sticking with it for a long term are high since there are numerous recipes, convenient options, and it gives you the opportunity to eat out without a problem.
The DASH Diet Program
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The diet is a healthy eating approach meant to control high blood pressure. It encourages one to increase intake of foods rich in calcium potassium and magnesium while discouraging sodium intake. This lifestyle ensures that one gets the right amount of nutrients that may reduce systolic blood pressure by about eight points over the time.
Apart from blood pressure, DASH diet offers other health benefits such as prevention of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It also shows some improvement in controlling the formation of kidney stone conditions when compared with other diets. Also, research continues to give other health benefits of the dietary plans. Apart from your doctor recommending it, organizations such as The American Heart Association and the Mayo Clinic endorse the eating lifestyle.
What To Eat?
Low-Fat Milk and Milk Products
2 to 3 servings of dairy products are enough to give your body enough protein, calcium, and vitamin D. 1 cup of skim milk is sufficient for serving. However, if you have a problem with dairy product digestion, you don’t have to worry. All you have to do is to buy an over-the-counter product that has lactase enzyme to reduce lactose intolerance.
(a) Skimmed milk (0.5% fat)
(b) Yogurt (lower than 1.4% milk fat)
(c) Cottage cheese
(d) Low-fat and fat-free cheese
You need to avoid dairy products such as processed cheese spreads and slices, chocolate milk, milkshakes and buttermilk as they are high in milk fats.
They include bread, pasta, cereals and rice. They are essential because they contain many nutrients and fibers that are necessary for organ functioning. Moreover, they are low in fat, hence controlling your cholesterol intake. When doing whole grain shopping, ensure to check for products labeled “ 100% whole grain” as they will enrich your nutrient intake. You need about 6-8 servings of these foods in a day. One serving may include a slice of whole bread, a half cup cooked rice or 1 ounce of dry cereal.
Fruits are the easiest foods when it comes to preparation. However, for them to be a healthy part of your meal, you need to wash them properly. They are full of potassium, magnesium, and fiber which are good for your heart. 4 ounces of juice, a cup of fresh fruit or one medium fruit may be enough for one serving. You need about 4-5 servings in a day. Don’t forget to eat on edible peels such as apples and pears since they add a high level of fiber to your body.
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Carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A mixture of vegetables served over whole grain meals can act as a main dish and not just a side dish. When buying plants, it’s good to check for the labels to avoid taking those added with salt. Creativity will make you increase your daily intake. One serving may include 1 cup of leafy vegetables or a half cup cooked vegetables for your meal. You can also use about 6 ounces of vegetable juice. You need to make about 4-5 servings per day for effectiveness.
(a) Frozen and fresh vegetables
(b) Unsalted canned vegetables
(c) Unsalted Tomato sauce and paste
Fats and Oils
Fats and oils are essential in ensuring absorption of certain nutrients and formation of steroid hormones necessary for organ processes. They also maintain your body temperature and can provide the energy necessary for doing house chores.
Instead of freaking out on fats, it’s good to use unsaturated fats in foods such as peanuts, avocados, rapeseed oil and olive oils. 2-3 servings of oils and fats are enough for your day. Make sure you use one teaspoon of soft margarine, mayonnaise or vegetable oil. For salad dressing, you may use two tablespoons.
Lean Meat, Fish and Poultry
People avoid meat and choose vegetables because they fear unsaturated fats and cholesterol. However, when making a healthy choice, it can lead you to eat meat as a beneficial, balanced diet. They are an excellent source of vitamin B, protein and zinc mineral.
Lean meats, fish, and poultry are low in harmful fats and can make a big difference to your health. Two or fewer servings of fish and lean meat are good for the day. Make sure you use about 3 ounces alone per serving. Below are some tips that can help you get healthy options:
(a) Go for poultry without skin
(b) Limit processed meats such as sausages as they are high in salt
(c) Limit meat products in pastry as they are rich in fats
(d) Cut off any visible fat before cooking
Added Sugars and Sweets
The main reason why people blame sugar for many health problems is that it lacks a nutritive value. However, it is important in storing fuel and giving immediate energy. You don’t have to stop taking sugar but regulate the amount you use.
The program recommends about five servings per week. It is proper to add about 8 ounces of lemonade to your sugars and sweets. To find out how much sugar is in your food, you need to check the product’s ingredient list. By this, you will regulate your blood pressure.
Nuts, Legumes and Seeds
Kidney beans, almonds, and other leguminous foods are full of photo chemical that help fight against cancer and hypertension. They also contain unsaturated fats and omega-3 acids which are essential for your organ functioning. 4-5 servings of nuts or legumes are enough for a week. 1/3 cup of nuts or a cup of cooked beans is sufficient in one serving because they are rich in calories.
You’ll find that The DASH diet is number one recommendation for hypertension because it limits intake of HBP-inducing products such as sodium. On the other hand, it increases consumption of heart-friendly minerals such as calcium. The program insists on a balanced diet of real foods hence giving practical solutions to your health problems.
With the program, you’ll understand that living a healthy life needs healthy choices. Also, you will not have to fully get away from your natural lifestyle because it does not require you to cut out all your food types. It is proven to be effective, so try it and see how delicious and varied it is. Don’t forget that it is easy to follow.
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