A blood pressure diet is highly desirable if you have high blood pressure. Many people have high blood pressure without knowing it so it is a good idea to get this checked. Your doctor will do this for you on request or you can buy a blood pressure monitor from a pharmacy or online and do the test at home.
Everyone has a different blood pressure and your own can vary at different times of the day. However if it is consistently higher than a norm of 140/70 then it would be wise to consider a blood pressure diet.
There are 4 main areas of your diet which affect blood pressure:
Eating more salt than your body needs will raise your blood pressure because salt retains water in the body. The heart needs to work harder to push the greater volume of blood through your arteries.
adult requires about 6g of salt a day but it is easy to regularly exceed this
due to the salt content of processed foods. Typical foods that contain too much
salt include bread, breakfast cereals, ready meals and sauces. Even the meals
prepared at your favourite restaurant will contain too much salt because people
are conditioned to these high levels.
I remember watching
with alarm a restaurant chef preparing a steak by sprinkling a large pinch of
salt on both sides of the meat before cooking. The unwary diner then might add
to that at the table.
We can cut down on
salt in various ways:
Don’t add it to food
when you prepare meals at home. You will miss it to start with but gradually
your taste buds get used to it. Tip: use other spices and herbs in place of
salt. Other foods high in salt are ketchups, stock cubes, gravy granules, soy
sauce. NB Many smoked meats such as ham, fish such as anchovies and dairy products
such as butter, use salt as a preservative.
Read the ingredients labels before you buy foodstuffs.
• 0.3g salt or less per 100g is ideal
• 0.3-1.5g salt per 100g can be eaten once in a while
• 1.5g salt or more per 100g is way too high and should be avoided
The ingredients may show sodium which is a component of salt and 1g of sodium is the equivalent of 2.5g salt.
Your body is kept healthy by the vitamins, minerals and
fibre contained in fruit and vegetables and also by potassium balancing out the
negative effects of salt. These factors are an essential consideration for any blood pressure diet.
Eat at least 5 portions a day of fruits and vegetables
(recent research suggests that 7 portions is the optimum) – a portion is 80
Examples of portions might include:
A small bowl of salad
A small bowl of vegetables
A small bowl of pulses (kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas)
A fruit such as an apple, orange, pear or banana or 2 smaller fruits
A small bowl of fresh berries – blueberries are especially good for you
A glass of fruit
or vegetable juice
Choose fresh vegetables where possible but frozen and tinned
can be just as nutritious. However check the labels for undesirable additives.
Fresh vegetables and fruit are best stored in the fridge and should be consumed
as soon as possible as they become less nutritious with age. The same applies
to nuts and seeds.
Restricting the amount of fats is a major part of any blood pressure diet and will help to
prevent you becoming overweight. The heavier you are the harder the heart has
to work which can in time lead to heart disease and strokes.
Eat foods that are low in fat to reduce your cholesterol
levels which can build up in the arteries. This narrowing of the arteries is a
major cause of raised blood levels and can result in heart attacks or strokes.
There are two types of fat, saturated (bad) and unsaturated
are found in fatty meats such as lamb and dairy products such as butter (I know
– all the nice foods we love to eat!) Although there is no need to give them up
completely but just have them as an occasional treat.
Unsaturated fats which include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats will help to lower cholesterol in the blood. These can be found in oils such as rapeseed, olive and sunflower.
Read the ingredients labels to check the fat levels.
• 3g total fat or 1g saturated fat or less per 100g of food is ideal
• 3-20g total fat or 1-5g saturated fat per 100g of food can be eaten once in a while
• 20g + total fat or 5g + saturated fat per 100g of food should be avoided
Try to keep to the recommended levels for alcoholic drinks
which are 3-4 units per day for men (approx 1.5 pints of average strength beer)
and 2-3 units for women (approx a 175ml glass of average strength wine). This
is equivalent to 21 units per week for men and 14 for women.
A ready guide to units of alcohol:
Single measure of spirits (25ml) 1 unit
Pint of normal-strength beer 2 units
Medium glass of wine (175ml) 2 units
Large glass of wine (250ml) 3 units
Pint of strong beer 4
Avoid drinking during the day
Steer clear of salty snacks which encourage you to drink more
Drink around meal times so that food absorbs the alcohol
If you have any comments or questions on this blood pressure diet please Contact Us