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High Blood Pressure Diet

What you eat and drink can have a huge impact on your heart health and blood pressure, and many people who have high blood pressure could benefit from a high blood pressure diet. For many people with hypertension, eating a healthy diet can reduce your blood pressure to the point where you no longer need to take medication, or at least enable you to cut down on your medication.

A high blood pressure diet should focus on achieving certain goals and these include:

·         Cutting down on the amount of salt or sodium in your diet.

·         Reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet and switching to unsaturated fat instead.

·         Eating plenty of foods that are rich in fiber including wholegrain bread, rice, and pasta.

·         Consuming large amounts of fruits and vegetables; at least five portions per day.

·         Reducing the amount of alcohol in your diet to less than two units per day.

Reducing Salt in a High Blood Pressure Diet

Although your body does need salt, consuming too much can mean that your body holds water, and this can increase your blood pressure. Make sure you check food labels to see how much sodium or salt they contain, an adult shouldn’t eat more than 6g per day. Sauces, processed foods, bread, breakfast cereals all contain a lot of salt so try to eat natural whole foods without salt as much as possible. When you first cut out salt your food may taste bland but after a while your taste buds will wake up and you won’t notice the difference. You can always add flavour with healthy herbs and spices.

High Blood Pressure Diet: The Dash Diet

The best known diet specifically designed to reduce blood pressure within 14 days is the Dash diet. It contains practical meal plans to help you to eat enough fruit, vegetables and fiber, and to create satisfying dishes that will prevent you snacking between meals. It uses low-fat or non-fat dairy foods and whole grains alongside fruit and vegetables. It is a low sodium diet so it will help you to reduce your salt intake. There are low calorie and family friendly versions of the Dash diet so that everyone can benefit from lower blood pressure.

Tips for Following a High Blood Pressure Diet

Any diet can be hard to stick to if it’s different from what you are used to, but as you begin to reap the health benefits you will gain the motivation to keep going. Here are some tips to help you stick to those high blood pressure diets in the first few weeks.

·         Take time to learn more about the food you eat. Check the labels and make meals from simple natural ingredients so you know what you’re eating.

·         Don’t think about ‘giving things up’ but about trying new things instead. Get out the low salt recipe books, experiment with new flavours and try new things.

·         Get your family or household involved. Nothing is worse than being surrounded by people who are eating the things you can’t have and everyone can benefit from a high blood pressure diet.

·         Plan ahead for meals and snacks. Stock up your kitchen with healthy food to stop you reaching for salty or fatty foods or ordering takeaway!

·         Be sensible, and don’t try to do everything at once or you probably won’t stick to your diet. Take small steps and change your diet gradually.

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