As little children, our parents ensured we ate well-balanced and highly nutritive foods. Some of these foods include fruits, vegetable salads and milk among many others. Although this seemed like torture back then, it was for the benefit of our health and body. Nutritionists also advise us to live a healthy life by taking nutritive and well-balanced diets.
Unhealthy dieting plans have resulted in many health complications such as diabetes and hypertension. This article will, however, focus on high blood pressure, and how to reduce blood pressure. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is a proven plan that helps reduce bad cholesterol and blood pressure. Controlling blood sugar using this diet plan is even much easier.
The DASH diet plan involves eating lots of vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, fish, whole grains and other healthy foods. Discussed below are several basics on how to reduce blood pressure and have a healthy cardio health.
– Reduced percentage of saturated fats: Trans fatty acids and saturated fats pose a major risk of developing a heart disease. Itís for this reason why you are advised to avoid using hydrogenated fats for cooking. Only 7% of these fats can be found in DASH diet plans.
– Proteins and Essential Fats: Proteins contain the body’s main building blocks hence should be included in every meal or diet plan. The DASH diet plan provides at least 20% calories from proteins, which reduces chances of becoming overweight or obese. Monounsaturated fats are also included in this diet plan.
– Minerals and Fibre: Minerals (magnesium, potassium and calcium) play a vital role in the regulation of blood pressure. Fibre too plays an important role in regulating blood sugar, cholesterol levels and most importantly, blood pressure. Fibre also plays a pivotal role in weight loss on most people.
– Controlled Calorie Percentage: Ones BMI plays a great factor in one’s body health and blood pressure. Excess calories are believed to facilitate weight gain, which is the reason why DASH diet provides calories in controlled amounts per serving. Reducing calorie intake promotes weight loss especially in obese and overweight persons.
The recommended foods for blood pressure regulation are:
1. Vegetables and Fruits: Fruits and vegetables are rich in compounds/nutrients that facilitate good cardio health. They are rich in essential minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium, which play a big role in blood pressure regulation. They are also rich in fibre and phytonutrients that promote expunging of cholesterol and other toxins from the body. Some of the foods you should include in your diet plan include potatoes, bananas, asparagus, citrus fruits and grapes. Some blood pressure medications may contain or excrete potassium, meaning you may have to consult with your doctor about this.
2. Low-Fat Dairy Products: Dairy products are good sources of proteins and calcium hence should be considered. You, however, need to focus on low-fat dairy products to avoid cholesterol accumulation in the body.
3. Poultry, Fish and Lean Meat: These are rich in good quality proteins and very low in fats, which is beneficial for your cardio health. Fish and turkey are excellent sources of proteins and very low in saturated fats. Fish also supplements omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for proper cell and tissue development.
4. Whole Grains: Whole grains are high in fibre content, which facilitates regulation of blood sugar and weight loss. 2 – 3 servings of cereals are therefore recommended.
5. Nuts and Beans: Beans are high in proteins and fibre. Nuts can be used to supplement magnesium, potassium and essential oils. You, however, need to limit nut portions, as they are high in calories.
Foods to avoid
Full-fat dairy and fatty meat: These are very high in saturated fats that are harmful to your health.
Preserved and salty foods: Canned foods contain preservatives hence very high in sodium. These should be avoided, as well as adding more table salt in your meals. Salts (especially sodium) are the greatest high blood pressure offenders and should be avoided at all costs.
Alcohol: Alcohol is very high in calories and preservatives that make it harmful to your body. If you must drink, then consider taking one drink in a day.