High Blood Pressure Diet Choices
with a brief look at eating habits
If you are looking for an ideal high blood pressure diet for your own individual needs, it can be confusing because there are many. I will discuss a few of them in this article that you may find will suit your needs.
There are several hypertension books that contain guidelines on recipes for you to follow.
The Main Dietary Approaches are –
- The Dash Diet
- The Mediterranean Diet
- The GI Diet or Insulin Resistance Diet
I like the sound of this diet because it doesn`t omit necessary foods that are suspect, but instead, cuts down on them. Is it a good choice?
Dash means – dietary approaches to stop hypertension.
D.a.s.h. was a clinical study of nutrients in food and their effect on blood pressure. The results of the study indicated that high blood pressure was reduced by eating more fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy foods, whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and eating less saturated fat, total fat, sweets, sugary drinks and cholesterol. They also compared the effect of the reduction of sodium along with this diet and a normal American diet. In both diets where salt was reduced, blood pressure levels dropped, concluding that it would be better to go on the dash diet for optimum results.
As with all diets, I think it`s better to extract the best and leave the rest. Each individual has a different metabolism, a different need, a different problem.
You will need to take into consideration foods that you want to cut down on or avoid, and those that you want to increase to help lower your high blood pressure. You might get some ideas from my Food and drink page.
The Mediterranean Diet
This diet was created and publicized in 1945 by an American doctor named Ancel Keyes who was based in Italy. It gained it`s popularity in the 90`s however when people learned that there was a healthy pattern in the eating habits of countries in around the Mediterranean basin.
Red wine and olive oil are consumed almost on a daily basis, along with a high consumption of vegetables and salads. Also you will find on the daily menu, bread, cereals, pasta, fish and red meat.
Why is this diet reported to be successful in lowering high blood pressure? One of the reasons could be the alternative use and taste of olive oil in preference to fats and hydrogenated oils. Olive oil is said to reduce cholesterol levels, a point to remember for those who want to cut down on cholesterol.
As for red wine, when drunk in moderation, is known to be a good antioxidant, combating the damaging effects of unsaturated fats, smoking, and other harmful lifestyle habits. Note too, that the people of the Mediterranean consume relatively high amounts of fat in their diets similar to those in the United States. Surprise! surprise! Obviously before choosing this diet, lifestyles, environment and genetics need to be taken into consideration.
The GI Diet or Insulin Resistance Diet
The Gi diet is great for those who wish to loose weight but it also is an effective diabetes and high blood pressure diet because it works by using foods that have a low or medium impact on glucose.
If you have lower glucose, it will keep the insulin production low and your body will burn the fat. How does it affect blood pressure? Too much insulin causes the body to become insulin resistant and triggers other system to dysfunction causing blood pressure to rise.
See Glycemic Index
GI has grown in popularity in recent years. It is a ranking of foods on how they affect blood glucose levels and one of the most fundamental medical findings with implications in health, weight loss, fitness and disease management.
The Leptin Diet
For those who are told that weight is a contributing factor to their high blood pressure, the Leptin diet could be a good choice for a high blood pressure diet. According to new scientific findings, the very act of reducing calories can be contributing to your high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hardening of the arteries, as well as other diseases.
Scientists have now demonstrated that leptin problems are the most important risk factor known for heart disease. But what is leptin? Briefly, it is a hormone that holds on to fat if the body is triggered into starvation mode when we suddenly reduce our calorific intake. The results lead to more overeating, fat over-production, more weight than we had before. Learning to control your weight in harmony with this hormone leptin will help your health enormously.
Mastering Leptin by Byron J.Richards
A Voice From the Past
The majority of us are aware of the impact our dietary habits have on our health, and perhaps you are convinced that many, if not most diseases are due to a lifetime of bad eating habits and choices of food.
We may be under the impression that it is a modern day affliction but take note of what`s written in a late 18th century health and diet article. –
It is very important to eat the right kind of food, but it is even more important to be balanced and use common sense. Those who are moderate in their habits and cheerful can eat almost anything with good results. Of course, people who live almost entirely on such denatured foods as polished rice, finely bolted wheat flour products, sterilized milk and meat spoiled in the cooking, refined sugar and potatoes deprived of most of their salts through being soaked and cooked will suffer.
(Maintaining Health by R.L.Alsaker,M.D.)
Taking into consideration the way we eat and being willing to change it, will help us choose the right high blood pressure diet.
The Acid – Alkaline Diet
A good place to begin is not to think of the term “diet”, as a temporary solution, but rather a “change of dietary habits”, a high blood pressure diet that you can use always, even when you regain normal blood pressure.
Preparation is important to find the right high blood pressure diet, so why not start by logging your normal food intake each day.
Next list them by their pH types. Yes! All foods are either acid or alkaline. The pH is the balance between acid and alkaline. It is common knowledge that the skin is at it`s healthiest when it`s pH balance is more alkaline than acid. The same holds true with our bodily organs. The normal ph balance of the body ranges between 7.35pH – 7.45pH.
If this balance is tipped either way then it will cause problems that can lead to disease. Therefore we need to know which foods are acid and which are alkaline to plan a healthy diet for high blood pressure. I will explain why this can have an effect on high blood pressure later.
Example of Middle Range Acid and Alkaline Type Foods
Sugar (white or brown), Potatoes, Rice (white or brown), Meat, Tea or Coffee, Milk, Cranberries, Bananas.
Maple syrup, Sweet potatoes, Vegetables, Lentils (white or red), Herbal teas, Soy milk, Coconuts.
These are just a small sample of the pH type foods you can choose to maintain a balanced high blood pressure diet.
Too much of either acid or alkaline foods will eventually lead to Acidosis which causes havoc with our blood pressure as well as many other sicknesses as I mentioned above.
If your diet consists of too much acidic foods, it causes acidic blood which begins to weaken and corrode the structural composition of the heart, arteries and veins, causing damage. Acidosis can also cause arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and other cardiovascular problems. This weakening of the cardiovascular system creates irregularities in blood pressure, which further escalate the problems caused by acidosis.
As you can see, to control your hypertension, a high blood pressure diet that balances acid and alkaline foods is of utmost importance before anything else.
But what if you have a weight problem and you need to find a high blood pressure diet that will also reduce your weight?
A good question, and one that merits a lot of thought. If calorie counting is also necessary, then things can get complicated and then the fun goes out of planning your meals. There is another way that you can reduce those calories without counting them. Referring back to R.L.Alsaker`s notes, consider this:
Next he should limit the number of articles eaten at a meal. The breakfast and lunch should each consist of no more than two or three varieties of food. The dinner should not exceed five or six varieties, and if that many are eaten, they should be compatible. Less would be be better. The less variety we have, the better the food digests. Also eating ten or twelve or more kinds of food, as many people do, always leads to overeating. A little of this added to a little of that soon makes a too great total. It is easy to eat all one should of a certain article of food and feel satisfied, and then change off to something else and before one is through one has eaten three or four times as much as necessary.
Interesting observation! Easier to remember when planning our high blood pressure diet than counting calories. And what do you think of this?-
Next the searcher for health should teach himself to eat foods that are natural, cooked simply, and with a minimum amount of seasoning and dressing. The various spices and sauces irritate the digestive organs and create a craving for an excessive amount of food.
Drinking while eating
When planning your high blood pressure diet, think about how you eat.Breaking life long, cultural habits may help but that doesn`t come easy.
A further look at Alsaker`s notes alerts us to the wrong habit of drinking while eating, which causes under-mastication (not chewing enough) and overeating. – The common habit of drinking with meals is a mistake. Man is the only animal that does this, and he has to pay dearly for such errors. Taking a bite of food and washing it down with fluid lead to under-mastication and overeating, and then the body suffers from auto-intoxication. A mouthful of food followed by a swallow of liquid forces the contents of the mouth into the stomach before the saliva has the opportunity to act. The best way is to drink one or two glasses of water in the morning before breakfast. Partake of the breakfast, and all other meals, without taking any liquid.