Hypertension occurs when the force that is being exerted on the walls of the artery becomes stronger as the blood is circulating through the body. High blood pressure is becoming even more common in today’s society due to lifestyle habits and food content. There are many treatment plans and lifestyle changes your doctor may prescribe for you, but one of the most important is coming up with a healthy diet for hypertension.
One of the most recognized studies into a healthy diet plan for those suffering from this condition is described as the DASH eating plan. Simply put, DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. A DASH trial, which concluded in 1997, actually demonstrated the importance of a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products, and whole grains, while decreasing the amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol for those suffering from hypertension. It also includes eating healthy amounts of poultry, fish and nuts, and lower amounts of fats, red meats, beverages full of sugar and sweets. (1)
The study revealed that taking these healthy approaches would lower blood pressure, as well as work to prevent heart disease and certain cancers. These healthful foods are believed to work as natural diuretics, which can help people bring down their blood pressure without the need for medication. The DASH diet actually makes it easier for people to excrete salt, as a diuretic does, which promotes an increase in urine production. These findings offer much hope as far as research, because some people suffer from side effects of diuretic medication, so this presents a viable, safe alternative.
A second similar study examined an extended approach, called the DASH-Sodium eating plan. This plan is a continuation of the DASH, as those that were decreasing their levels of sodium were seeing even better results. This study indicates the importance of lowering the sodium intake for people suffering from hypertension. The DASH eating plan allows for eating around 2000 calories per day, but your specific caloric needs will be assessed by a professional before beginning on any eating plan. (2)
All of the findings of these studies demonstrate that it is important to find a healthy diet for hypertension, while following the guidelines that are set forth by a professional. It is always best to combine both the DASH eating plan with a decrease in sodium intake. In any case, lowering your sodium levels is a good choice for everyone regardless of whether they suffer from high blood pressure or not. And, healthy eating habits consisting of many fruits and vegetables are always a lifestyle choice that can offer much benefit. Find a plan that works for your health needs, and stick with it to see the best results.
(1) New England Journal of medicine: A Clinical Trial of the Effects of Dietary Patterns on Blood Pressure
(2) New England Journal of Medicine: Effects of Blood Pressure of Reduced Dietary Sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)
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