According to The World Health Organisation (WHO), as of August 2021, 1.28 billion adults have hypertension globally. To put that into perspective, that is roughly 1 in 5 adults.
Furthermore, the age group that is affected most is 30-79 and, if left untreated, can lead to heart complications and stroke. WHO further claims that people from the middle-class and lower-income groups are usually affected by hypertension.
A lot of studies (1)(2)(3) establish the relationship between food and diet with blood pressure. For example, salty or extra-sweet foods can increase blood pressure.
The ideal measure of blood pressure is 120/80. When it surpasses the ideal value, one calls it hypertension.
This article will help you learn more about hypertension and the DASH diet for hypertension by providing a seven day diet plan and addressing all the frequently asked questions.
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the force of the blood against the arterial walls is consistently too high. Normal blood pressure is considered to be a reading of less than 120/80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury).
Read more: Ways to Control High Blood Pressure without Medication
Blood pressure readings above this level are considered to be high, and the higher the readings, the greater the risk of developing serious health problems.
Hypertension is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it often has no symptoms, but it can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. Some of the potential complications of hypertension include heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney damage, vision problems, and aneurysm.
There are many factors that can contribute to the development of hypertension, including unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, stress, smoking, excess alcohol consumption, and certain medical conditions.
Hypertension is often treated with lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress, as well as medications prescribed by a healthcare professional.
Read more: Hypertension: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
In addition, one must measure the blood pressure on two different days to diagnose hypertension. For example, if the systolic pressure exceeds 120 on both days and the diastolic pressure exceeds 90 on both days, the blood pressure is high, and the condition is hypertension.
Causes of Hypertension
There are several factors that can contribute to the development of this condition. These include:
Unhealthy diet: A diet high in salt, saturated and trans fats, and added sugars can contribute to the development of hypertension.
Lack of physical activity: A sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of hypertension.
Stress: Chronic stress can raise blood pressure.
Smoking: Tobacco use can increase blood pressure and the risk of developing hypertension.
Excess alcohol consumption: Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure.
Age: The risk of developing hypertension increases with age.
Family history: Hypertension tends to run in families, so having a family history of the condition can increase the risk.
Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as kidney disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea, can increase the risk of developing hypertension.
Common Symptoms of Hypertension
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it often has no symptoms.
This is why it is important to have regular blood pressure screenings to check for hypertension. However, in some cases, people with hypertension may experience the following symptoms:
Headaches: High blood pressure can cause headaches, especially at the back of the head or the temples.
Dizziness or lightheadedness: High blood pressure can cause dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when standing up suddenly.
Nosebleeds: Hypertension can cause the blood vessels in the nose to break more easily, leading to frequent nosebleeds.
Chest pain: High blood pressure can cause chest pain or discomfort, especially during physical activity.
Difficulty breathing: Hypertension can make it harder to breathe, especially during physical activity or when lying down.
Vision problems: High blood pressure can cause vision problems, such as blurry vision or seeing floaters.
It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the cause.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Complications From Hypertension
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a serious condition that can lead to a number of complications if left unchecked. Here are some possible complications of hypertension:
- Heart attack and stroke: High blood pressure can put extra strain on the heart and blood vessels, which can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular events.
- Heart failure: Hypertension can weaken the heart and cause it to work less efficiently, leading to heart failure.
- Aneurysm: High blood pressure can weaken the walls of the blood vessels, increasing the risk of an aneurysm, which is a bulge or ballooning in a blood vessel.
- Kidney damage: Hypertension can damage the small blood vessels in the kidneys, leading to kidney failure.
- Eye damage: High blood pressure can damage the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to vision problems or even blindness.
- Dementia: Some studies have suggested that hypertension may be a risk factor for developing dementia, although more research is needed to confirm this link.
DASH Diet for Hypertension
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH is a diet plan that reduces hypertension. The DASH diet is ideal for weight loss measures too.
The diet requires consuming more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. In addition, it advises eating more fish and poultry and cutting back on food that has high saturated and trans fat.
Furthermore, the DASH diet is rich in nutrients that are known to help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. It is also low in saturated and trans fats and high in fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
The diet also requires one to have low sodium and red meat intake.
Planning and Starting the Diet
The dash diet requires a specific number of calorie intake from various food groups daily. Therefore, what specific intake you might need has to be customised.
HealthifyMe allows you to customise your meal plan with a nutritionist in a way that best suits your needs and helps you achieve your health goals quicker and with much more efficiency.
HealthifyPRO is a complete solution that can improve your metabolic health substantially. The offering contains various pillars. First, the extensive metabolic panel testing based on 65 plus parameters helps the coaches understand the extent of food and lifestyle changes required to normalise your health parameters. The condition is associated with obesity, diabetes, or pre-diabetes.
The CGM helps you track fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Due to stress or sitting in the same position for a long time, you may experience a spike in glucose levels. It also happens when you eat anything.
The idea is to stabilise your glucose levels, eat the right foods that control blood glucose spikes and stay active, sleep well, drink enough water, and make it a lifestyle change.
Read more: Normal Blood Sugar Levels – Everything You Should Know
When you are metabolically healthy, your dependence on medicines reduces, and you live a healthier life. How you eat and live has far-reaching consequences on your health, and HealthifyPRO 2.0 can help identify your metabolic distress’s root causes.
Dash Diet – Foods To Add
The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a dietary pattern that is recommended by the American Heart Association for the management of hypertension (high blood pressure).
The DASH diet emphasizes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products, and limits the intake of sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars.
Here are some examples of foods that can be included in the DASH diet to help manage hypertension:
|Fruits||Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, berries, melons|
|Vegetables||Leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes|
|Whole grains||Whole wheat, oats, millets, quinoa, red rice, brown rice|
|Lean proteins||Chicken, turkey, salmon, beans, lentils, tofu|
|Low-fat dairy||Low-fat/fat-free milk, yogurt, cheese|
It’s important to note that the DASH diet is not a low-sodium diet, but rather a balanced eating plan that includes a moderate amount of sodium.
The goal is to consume no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day, with a recommended target of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults with hypertension.
It’s also important to choose foods that are rich in other nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which can help to lower blood pressure.
Dash Diet – Foods To Avoid
There are certain foods and dietary patterns that can contribute to the development of hypertension (high blood pressure) and should be limited or avoided to help manage the condition.
Here are some examples of foods and dietary patterns to avoid or limit if you have hypertension:
|Substance||Effect on Blood Pressure||Recommended Limit|
|Sodium||Increases blood pressure||No more than 2,300 mg per day, with a recommended target of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults with hypertension|
|Saturated and trans fats||Increases blood pressure and raises cholesterol levels||Choose healthier fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats|
|Added sugars||Contributes to weight gain and increases blood pressure||Minimal added sugars|
|Alcohol||Increases blood pressure||No more than 2 drinks per day for men and no more than 1 drink per day for women|
|Caffeine||Temporarily increases blood pressure||Limit caffeine intake to no more than 2 cups of coffee per day|
It’s important to remember that these recommendations are general and may not apply to everyone. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best approach for managing hypertension.
DASH Diet Plan Chart for Hypertension
|Breakfast||Smoothie with berries and low-fat Greek yoghurt|
|Lunch||Tuna, edamame, and seaweed salad quinoa poke bowl|
|Dinner||Clear chicken soup with oven grilled seasonal vegetables and 1 bowl of freshly cut lettuce, tomato, cucumber salad|
|Breakfast||Fruit smoothie with Greek yoghurt|
|Lunch||A salad with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and grilled chicken with a dressing made of low-fat yoghurt|
|Dinner||Stir-fried cubed chicken, broccoli, bell pepper, and snow peas over brown rice|
|Breakfast||Oats porridge with berries and nuts|
|Lunch||A salad with low-fat feta cheese, chickpeas, strawberries, and spinach|
|Dinner||Rahu/Katla (Local Fish Fillet) with lemon and quinoa|
|Breakfast||Low-fat spinach mango smoothie|
|Lunch||Wholegrain wrap with tuna salad and low-fat yoghurt|
|Dinner||White bean, veggie, and whole wheat pasta soup|
|Breakfast||Chia pudding made with fruit and unsweetened almond milk|
|Lunch||Grilled fish with broccoli and cherry tomato salad with a side of fluffy couscous|
|Dinner||Turkey burgers on a whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomato, and onion|
|Breakfast||Tofu scramble, salsa, and whole-wheat bread|
|Lunch||Chicken salad tacos|
|Dinner||Grilled chicken and whole wheat pasta with salad|
|Breakfast||Porridge made with whole grains, pears, and cinnamon|
|Lunch||A whole grain wrap with cucumbers, tomatoes, and hummus|
|Dinner||Whole grain bread with a lentil curry with celery, carrots, and onions|
Tips for the Diet Plan Chart
|Category||Suggested Servings||Specific Options|
|Cereals and Grains||6-7 servings per day||1/2 cup of cooked rice, 1 cup of oats|
|Lean Proteins||2 servings per day||Tofu, low-fat paneer, chicken, fish, kidney beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, green gram sprouts|
Note: Fruit juice option should be removed. Number of servings should be limited to 2.
How Much is a Serving?
In the DASH diet, the following are known as one serving:
- Half a cup of rice or pasta
- One slice of bread
- 3 ounces of cooked meat
- 8 ounces of milk
- 1 cup of raw fruits and vegetables
The HealthifyMe Note
Speaking with a nutritionist and having a meal plan that is optimal for your diet structure should always be top priorities when starting a DASH diet. Furthermore, a low-sodium diet rich in fruits and vegetables is essential while aiming to balance the diet with recommended quantities of fat.. You must also avoid sugary drinks and packaged salty foods. You can always get a customized meal plan tailored to your needs using HealthifyMe and can always track your food calories using the free HealthifyMe app.
Hypertension is relatively common among adults. There are ways in which you can regulate it. Consuming certain foods can help reduce and regulate blood pressure.
A diet consisting of fruits and vegetables and lean meats is the most suitable. It is essential to keep in mind that your first step needs to be to reduce sodium and salt intake to control your hypertension.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What foods increase hypertension?
A: The foods that increase hypertension are, salty foods, red meat, sugary drinks, alcohol, saturated fats like desserts, chocolate, biscuits and kebabs, condiments like ketchup and soy sauce and caffeine in tea and coffee.
Q. Are eggs good for hypertension?
A: Yes, eggs can be a part of a healthy diet for people with hypertension. As they are a good source of protein and other essential nutrients. They can be a healthy choice for people with hypertension, particularly when they are prepared in a heart-healthy way, such as boiled, poached, or baked rather than fried.
Q. What foods should a hypertensive person avoid?
A: Foods that hypertensive people should avoid are salty foods, red and processed meat, all foods with high sugar content, fried foods, packaged foods, alcohol and caffeine.
Q. Is Apple good for hypertension?
A: Yes, apples are good for hypertension. They help maintain blood pressure at healthy levels due to their potassium and fibre content.
Q. Is rice OK for hypertension?
A: Yes, but the type of rice consumed is the deciding factor as to whether rice is suitable for consumption. Red and brown rice with a high fibre content is beneficial for controlling blood pressure, but white rice is unhealthy, and you must avoid it. Rice, like brown rice, is rich in vitamins, fibre and carbohydrates that work in synergy to maintain and control blood pressure and aid weight loss.
Q. Is bread good for hypertension patients?
A: Yes, you can have whole wheat and whole grain bread, but you must avoid white bread. The recommended serving of bread is either one slice or three ounces. The rye in whole grain bread helps in lowering blood pressure.
Q. What is the best breakfast for hypertension?
A: The best breakfast options for patients with hypertension, are unsalted nuts, fruit smoothies, and wholegrain bread.
Q. Is milk good for hypertension?
A: Yes, milk is good for hypertension as long as it is not whole milk rich in fats; skimmed milk and low-fat milk are always ideal. Milk is rich in potassium which are linked with lower blood pressure.
- Hypertension (2021) – https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hypertension
- Dietary approaches to prevent and treat hypertension: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. (2006) – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16434724/
- Lifestyle modification as a means to prevent and treat high blood pressure. (2003) – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12819311/
- ASH Position Paper: Dietary approaches to lower blood pressure. (2009) – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19583632/
This information on diabetes and hypertension was extremely helpful. I will start following these recommended diets immediately.
Thanks so much!