Diet and high blood pressure go hand in hand both as a cause and a cure. If you have high blood pressure now, odds are that at least part of the cause was the junk you ate. Our Western diet is built around convenience. Processed foods and our unlimited array of fast food coupled with our love affair with the deep fat fryer has resulted in a nation of overweight children and adults, plus 70 million people suffering from high blood pressure.
The good news is you can turn around your BP by turning around your diet. More good news! Even if you only change your eating habits and don’t do any of the other lifestyle changes that are recommended, you could lower your systolic by 11 points and your diastolic reading by 5 in just two weeks.
You’ve probably already heard about the DASH diet, the recommended nutrition plan for reducing high blood pressure. But did you know that when they tested it originally, they made allowances so that only the effects of the diet would be measured?
They adjusted the caloric intake for each subject in the test study so that they wouldn’t lose weight. Fat people remained fat and slim people remained slim. There was no prohibition on smoking or salt intake. No change in exercise habits was required. What the study wanted to find was if changing diet alone would have an impact on blood pressure.
And obviously it did.
The diet’s principal goal was to reduce calories from fat to 30%. It is heavy in servings of fresh fruit and vegetables which not only provide the nutrients and antioxidants needed to attack blood pressure, but also tend to be bulkier leading many people to feel full and eating fewer total calories a day. The diet isn’t designed as a weight loss diet but that appears to be one of the beneficial side effects for many.
Aside from fruits and vegetables, DASH calls for 7 servings of grain per day, 2 of meat, 2 of non-fat dairy and 4 to 5 of legumes and nuts per week.
The magic behind the diet’s ability to lower blood pressure is the contents of the food. Foods are selected not only for their low fat content but for their concentration of minerals and vitamins that are so lacking in the typical diet. Potassium, manganese, folic acid and dietary fiber are all important elements in feeding the body what it needs.
In addition, foods with antioxidants and natural vasodilators directly impact on the elasticity of blood vessels, plaque and free radicals.
If you’re in need of lowering your pressure, even to the point of eliminating medication, you can take heart in the fact that it can be done naturally simply by making adjustments in what you eat.
HBP is a dangerous condition and can’t be ignored. Eating correctly is one step in controlling a disease that could easily destroy your life. In addition to diet, there are so many things you can do without drugs that will not only control the disease but cure it. You owe it to yourself to learn how.