Among the many lifestyle changes you can make to prevent or treat high blood pressure, improving your diet is proven to help you control your blood pressure, lose weight, and decrease your chance of heart disease and stroke.
You can get a referral from your doctor to a dietitian, who can help you plan a diet that is healthy for you.
HEART HEALTHY DIET
Eat foods that are naturally low in fat. These include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Keep them low in fat. Using low-fat toppings, sauces, and dressings will help.
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 not only rich in important nutrients and fiber, but it also includes foods that contain far more potassium (4,700 milligrams (mg)/day), calcium (1,250 mg/day), and magnesium (500 mg/day) and much less sodium (salt) than the typical American diet.
Before you increase the potassium in your diet or use salt substitutes (which often contain potassium), check with your doctor. 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.
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, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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