Making changes to your diet is a proven way to help control high blood pressure. These changes can also help you lose weight and lower your chance of heart disease and stroke.
Your doctor can refer you to a dietitian who can help you create a healthy meal plan. Ask your doctor what your blood pressure target is. Your target will be based on your risk factors and other medical problems.
HEART HEALTHY DIET
Eat foods that are naturally low in fat. These include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Other tips include:
The low-salt Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is proven to help lower blood pressure. Its effects on blood pressure are sometimes seen within a few weeks.
This diet is rich in important nutrients and fiber. It also includes foods that are higher in potassium, calcium, and magnesium lower in sodium (salt) than the typical American diet.
The goals of the DASH diet are:
Other daily nutrient goals in the DASH diet include limiting carbohydrates to 55% of daily calories and dietary cholesterol to 150 mg. Try to get at least 30 grams (g) of daily fiber.
Check with your doctor before you increase the potassium in your diet or use salt substitutes (which often contain potassium). People who have kidney problems or who take certain medicines must be careful about how much potassium they consume.
Hypertension - diet
Goldstein LB, Bushnell CD, Adams RJ, Appel LJ, Braun LT, Chaturvedi S, et al. Guidelines for the primary prevention of stroke: a guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.Stroke. 2011;42:517-84.
Kaplan NM. Systemic hypertension: Treatment. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 46.
Victor RG. Arterial hypertension. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 67.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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