End High Blood Pressure With Easy Diet Changes

Healthy blood pressure can be maintained and often restored with a few minor changes to your diet. In fact, you may be able to reduce or completely eliminate your high blood pressure medication by slightly changing what you eat. Sound good? Read on…

If you have high blood pressure or hypertension, this causes your heart to work harder than it needs to and contributes to atherosclerosis, strokes, kidney disease, heart failure, and blindness. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimated, in 2005, about 32% of adults over the age of 20 had hypertension. Nursing home residents have about a 53% incidence of hypertension.

The changes to your diet are not a temporary “fad” designed to lose weight rapidly, but rather a guideline for lifelong health. The diet recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is known as the DASH diet. DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension”. The basic premise behind the diet is to use foods that are low in saturated fat, total fat, cholesterol and high in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy options. There are many ways to get the foods you need to comply with the DASH diet.

One of the important changes you will notice in the diet is eating several smaller meals throughout the day, rather than 2 or 3 large meals. When you think about it, this is the natural way of eating. When you see what makes up this life-saving diet, it will begin to make sense also as the “natural” way. After all, for hundreds of thousands of years, we ate certain types of foods in a certain rhythm that kept us healthy. High blood pressure is a modern disease.

Grains and grain containing foods are a good starting point to attempt to change in the diet. An amount of 7-8 daily servings are recommended. Examples of serving sizes in the group are 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal or 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta. Serving sizes may vary with ready made cereals and the nutrition label should be consulted on the actual serving size.

The amount of vegetables that should be consumed on a daily basis are 4-5 servings. Examples of vegetable servings are 1 cup raw leafy vegetables, 1/2 cup cooked vegetables, or 6 ounces of vegetable juice. It is better to prepare vegetables using a steaming methods.

There should be about 4-5 daily servings of fruits in the DASH diet. Examples of serving sizes are 1 medium fruit, 1/4 cup dried fruit, 1/2 cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit, and 6 ounces of fruit juice. Look for fruit that is in season and you will always have different fruit all year long.

Low-fat and fat free dairy foods are preferred to higher fat dairy items. About 2-3 servings a day in this group which includes 8 ounces of milk, 1 cup yogurt, or 1 1/2 ounces cheese.

Lean meats including poultry and fish should be eaten daily but only about less than 2 servings a day. A serving size of lean meat is 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, skinless poultry or fish. When preparing meats, it is better to roast, poach, or grill with a minimal amount of fat and salt.

Fats and oils may be eaten using the DASH diet, but should be kept to about 2-3 daily servings. A serving of fat or oils include 1 teaspoon of soft margarine, 1 tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of light salad dressing, or 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Remember that these guidelines also go for the preparation of your food as well.

Sweets should be kept to a minimum and 5 servings per week are suggested. Serving sizes are not the same as consumer products and caution should be followed when determining a serving of a sweet item. A serving size is 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon jelly, ½ ounce jelly beans, or 8 ounces lemonade.

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