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Diet For Lowering Blood Pressure: What To Eat And What To Avoid

Diet is one of the fundamental parts for the treatment of arterial hypertension, for this reason it is important to maintain some daily care such as reducing the consumption of salt in meals and avoiding fried and industrialized foods such as sausages and canned foods because of their high salt content. Likewise, it is important to consume foods rich in saturated fats and sugar in moderation, as excess of these can also contribute to increased blood pressure.

To help control hypertension, preference should be given to the consumption of natural foods such as vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, legumes and lean meats. 

In addition to this, those suffering from high blood pressure should also increase water intake, ingesting between 2 to 2.5 liters per day, to help eliminate excess fluid from the body; as well as increase regular physical activity such as walking or running, at least 3 times per week.

See other ways to control high blood pressure without medication.

Foods to eat

Foods best for lowering high blood pressure include:

  • All fresh fruits;
  • Low-fat, low-salt cheeses;
  • Olive oil;
  • Coconut water;
  • Whole grains;
  • Beet juice;
  • Eggs;
  • Raw and cooked vegetables;
  • Lean meats such as skinless chicken, turkey and fish;
  • Raw peanuts, cashews or cashews, walnuts and hazelnuts (unsalted);
  • Low-fat yogurts.
  • It is also important to include in the diet diuretic foods such as watermelon, pineapple, cucumber, parsley, nopales, among others, and increase the intake of water and natural teas, since their consumption will help eliminate fluid retention through urine and regulate blood pressure.

    Know what are the foods with diuretic properties.

    How much salt can we consume per day?

    The World Health Organization recommends a maximum of 5 g (1 level teaspoon) of salt per day, in adults, and up to 3 grams in children. Salt is composed of the minerals chloride and sodium, the latter being the cause of increased blood pressure.

    The daily recommendation for sodium is less than 2 grams per day, and certain foods such as cod, shellfish and animal entrails, for example, contain high amounts of this mineral. Likewise, it is important to be attentive and read the nutritional label of industrialized foods, as they generally contain large amounts of sodium.

    To replace or decrease the amount of salt in the diet, a wide variety of spices and aromatic herbs can be used to give more flavor to foods, such as oregano, rosemary, parsley and cilantro, for example. 

    How much coffee can I consume?

    Some studies show that caffeine, present in coffee, can increase blood pressure for a short period of time after its consumption, this regardless of whether or not the individual suffers from arterial hypertension.

    It is still necessary to study a little more the effects of its long-term consumption; however, some studies show that the moderate consumption of 3 cups per day is beneficial to health, avoiding cardiovascular diseases, such as arrhythmias and infarction, and diabetes mellitus. 

    Foods to avoid

    Foods not to eat if you have high blood pressure include:

  • Sausage foods, such as cured ham, sausage, bologna, salami, bacon or bacon, or jerky;
  • Canned foods, such as tuna or sardines;
  • Canned vegetables, such as pickles, olives, asparagus, hearts of palm;
  • Ready-made sauces, such as ketchup, soy or Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, mustard;
  • Bouillon cubes or seasoning sachets ready to add to food;
  • Fatty meats, such as hip corner, shoulder, brisket;
  • Offal, pates, anchovies, salted cod;
  • Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, energy drinks and packaged juices.
  • Likewise, it is important to avoid fried foods; cheeses, such as Parmesan, provolone and Swiss, and sweets, such as ice cream, cookies, jams and cakes. These foods are rich in fats and sugar, so they favor the accumulation of fatty plaques in the arteries, which hinders the passage of blood and, therefore, increases the pressure. 

    Sample menu for high blood pressure

    The following table shows a sample 3-day menu for high blood pressure:

    Meals

    Day 1

    Day 2

    Day 3

    Breakfast

    Breakfast

    1 glass of watermelon juice + 1 slice of whole wheat bread with 1 tablespoon of cottage cheese (ricotta)

    1 cup of coffee without sugar + 2 scrambled eggs + 1/2 papaya

    2 scrambled eggs with a slice of whole wheat bread + 1 apple

    Lunch/Dinner

    4 tablespoons brown rice + 1 grilled chicken breast + 3 tablespoons cooked beans + salad of lettuce, arugula, tomato, cucumber and 1 drizzle of olive oil + 1 medium pineapple slice

    1 grilled fish fillet with potatoes, broccoli, peppers, tomato, onion and 1 drizzle of olive oil + 3 tablespoons bean salad

    1 roasted turkey breast + 1 serving of whole wheat pasta with homemade tomato sauce + 4 tablespoons of stewed zucchini with onion, carrot and eggplant

    Snack

    1 plain nonfat yogurt + 1 teaspoon honey + 1/2 banana + 1 tablespoon flaxseed

    3 corn tortillas with guacamole, prepared with ½ avocado, tomato, onion and lemon juice

    1 cup of chamomile tea + 1 slice of whole wheat bread with 1 slice of low-fat cheese + 1 fresh plum

    This menu is only an example model that may vary if the person has any other health problem. For this reason, it is important to consult a nutritionist for a personalized diet. 

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