NUTRITION CAN HELP HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE – NJ NY NUTRITIONIST EXPLAINS

Nutrition Recommendations for Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects an astounding twenty-five percent of Americans. Although it frequently presents few or no symptoms, this condition costs more than ten billion dollars annually.

What is Hypertension?

With each beat, the heart pushes blood through the circulatory system, delivering oxygen and nutrients to every part of the body, and carrying away debris. Blood pressure is measured by recording the force with which the blood travels. For most people, when blood pressure reaches 120/80, it is seen as high and usually requires treatment. The first number represents “systolic” pressure, which is the result of the hearts contraction; the second number measures “diastolic” pressure, which is the pressure when the heart rests.  Both numbers are meaningful, but it is a high systolic number indicates a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Who’s at Risk?

High blood pressure is implicated in the development of other conditions, including arteriosclerosis, kidney disease, stroke, and heart disease. Some segments of the population, such as African-Americans or those with a family history of hypertension, have a greater than average risk of developing the disease. So are older people. However, many known risk factors are in fact controllable through lifestyle changes; these include smoking, lack of exercise, obesity, stress, and a diet too high in sodium, caffeine, and alcohol.

What about salt?

Changes in diet and lifestyle can actually help lower the risk of developing hypertension. Although a diet high in sodium is considered a risk factor, the actual intake of sodium is not the cause of the problem. But an overuse of salt disturbs the chemical balance of the body; other minerals, especially potassium, must be properly balanced against each other. We need to ingest more potassium than sodium. Consciously lowering the amount of salt you use while increasing the high-potassium foods consumed is an important step.

Flavor-enhancers such as spices and herbs can help to replace salt in the diet; also remember that packaged and canned goods can be high in salt.

There are several simple ways to start taking control of your diet:

* To add up to 30 grams a day of water-soluble fiber, eat 6-8 servings of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables

* Include legumes such as beans and lentils as a source of protein

* High-potassium foods include bananas, avocados, oranges, greens such as kale, seaweed, asparagus, potatoes, tomatoes, and apples

* Eat less saturated animal fat; choose lean meats and fish

* Include foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as cold-water fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, and halibut), flaxseed oil and walnuts

* Avoid hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that produce trans fatty acids. Read labels!

* Use less salt when cooking, and don’t add salt to your food at the table

* Have no more than one serving per day of alcohol and caffeine-rich drinks

* Increase physical activity; a daily walk can make a big difference

* Ask your doctor or nutritionist about supplemental vitamins and minerals

* Monitor your blood pressure regularly

DIET AND NUTRITION CAN GREATLY HELP HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE/HYPERTENSION … CLICK THE LINK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT NUTRITION SERVICES FOR HEART ISSUES

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