Treating Hypertension with Diet

A healthy diet is essential regardless of an individual’s cardiovascular risk profile. Many studies, including Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), have provided evidence of the heart and vascular benefits of specific dietary guidelines.

An early modification in dietary preferences may prevent and/or improve high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and subsequently other health-related difficulties.

If a rise in blood pressure with age could be prevented or diminished, many conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart, vascular and kidney disease, and stroke, could be prevented.

Sodium: The leading source of sodium in Western diets is processed food, for example, extreme quantities of salt are added in packaged food and in food eaten in restaurants. The DASH trial evaluated the effects of sodium intake in addition to the DASH diet and established that lowering sodium intake shrinks blood pressure levels.

At this time, mean sodium intake of the population is approximately 4,100 mg per day for men and 2,750 mg per day for women, 75% of which derives from processed foods. According to the guidelines dietary sodium should be reduced to no more than 100 mmol per day (2.4 g of sodium).

Alcohol: Alcohol consumption should be restricted to no more than 1 oz (30 mL) of ethanol, the equivalent of two drinks per day for most men and no more than 0.5 oz of ethanol (one drink) per day for women and lighter-weight persons. A single drink is equivalent to 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz of 80-proof liquor. Modest alcohol intake can lessen systolic blood pressure by 2-4 mm/Hg.

Alcohol intake should be limited to no more than two drinks per day in most men and no more than one drink per day in women and lighter-weight persons.

Caffeine: Caffeine may cause high blood pressure; though, this outcome is frequently transitory. Sensible ingestion of caffeine per day does not considerably raise blood pressure. Coffee intake should be fewer than two cups per day.

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