By starting a few new food habits, including counting calories and watching portion sizes, you may be able to lower your blood pressure and reduce the medications you need to control high blood pressure.
Here are some tips that you can incorporate in your life to help lower your blood pressure:
Tip 1: Track what you eat – Take time daily to track your food and beverages including portion sizes. Be aware of alcohol. Alcohol can increase your blood pressure as well.
Tip 2: Avoid Salt (Sodium) – A high-sodium diet increases blood pressure in many people. In fact, the less sodium you eat, the better blood pressure-control you might have. Aim for less than 2,300 milligrams (about 1 teaspoon of salt) each day. Avoid canned foods, processed foods, lunch meats, and fast foods.
Tip 3: Follow the DASH Diet – Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is an eating plan rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains, fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, and low-fat dairy. These foods are high in key nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and protein. The DASH diet can lower blood pressure because it has less salt and sugar than the typical American diet. The DASH diet cuts out desserts, sweetened beverages, fats, red meat, and processed meats.
• Grains – 7 to 8 daily servings (Serving sample could be 1 slice of bread, ½ cup cooked rice or pasta)
• Veggies – 4 to 5 daily servings (Serving sample could be 1 cup raw leafy greens, ½ cup cooked veggies)
• Fruits – 4 to 5 daily servings (Serving sample could be 1 medium fruit, ½ cup fresh/frozen fruit, ¼ cup dried fruit)
• Low-fat or fat-free dairy products – 2 to 3 daily servings (Serving sample could be 8 ounces milk, 1 cup yogurt)
• Lean meat, poultry, and fish – 2 or fewer servings per day (Serving sample could be 3 ounces)
• Nuts and seeds – 4 to 5 servings per week (Serving sample could be 1/3 cup nuts, 2 tablespoons seeds)
• Fats and oils – 2 to 3 daily servings (Serving sample could be 1 teaspoon vegetable oil or soft margarine)
• Sweets – less than 5 servings per week (Serving sample could be 1 tablespoon sugar, jelly or jam)
Follow these tips to lower your blood pressure, to lose weight, or to maintain a healthy weight. Remember, before starting any kind of diet plan, speak to your healthcare professional to determine how many calories you need each day.