A Mediterranean Diet for High Blood Pressure
June 6, 2023
June 6, 2023
The Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern that originates from the traditional eating habits of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy, Spain, and Morocco. It is characterized by an abundance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and moderate consumption of fish, poultry, and dairy products.
The Mediterranean diet is not just a list of specific foods but a way of eating that encourages a balanced and varied diet. It promotes whole, minimally processed foods while limiting the intake of processed and sugary foods. The combination of nutrient-dense ingredients, healthy fats, and plant-based foods in the Mediterranean diet has been associated with various health benefits, including improved heart health, weight management, and reduced risks of chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and certain cancers.
The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest diet plans by multiple health experts. A study has noted that a Mediterranean-style diet effectively prevents and treats high blood pressure and associated diseases like cholesterol issues, weight gain, obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and stroke.
The diet emphasises healthy dietary patterns. A typical Mediterranean diet contains lots of fruits and vegetables. In addition, it includes beans, nuts, legumes, and seeds. Olive oil and whole-grain food are staples in the diet along with moderate amounts of seafood, lean meat and dairy. The diet also restricts added sugar, salt, processed and refined foods.
The Mediterranean diet rarely contains canned, deep-fried or junk foods. They also avoid foods high in preservatives. High sodium dishes like pickles, mayonnaise and other processed foods are completely out of the question. Wine with meals in moderate quantities is quite popular.
Studies show that olive oil is a significant ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. It lowers the risk of high blood pressure. Moreover, hypertensive patients subjected to a Mediterranean diet had shown positive changes after a certain period. The extra virgin olive oil may help eliminate abnormal cholesterol from blood vessels. It prevents them from obstructions in blood flow. Additionally, it also improves the endothelial lining. It is the lining of blood vessels where blood vessels constrict during fat deposits.
A study shows that a Mediterranean diet containing fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats helps reduce blood pressure. Another study also states that recommended quantities of Mediterranean foods and lifestyle modifications may reduce the incidence of other diseases related to hypertension. It includes diabetes, cardiac disorder, among others.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fat is crucial as it has all the vital nutrients for controlling blood pressure. Potassium is one of the major minerals in most vegetables and fruits. It dilates the blood vessels for smooth blood flow. In addition, vegetables and fruits are dense in dietary fibres, which helps you remain satiated for a long time. Thus it prevents you from overeating or binging on unhealthy snacks, ultimately preventing weight gain.
Here are some of the Mediterranean diet’s main components, great for people with high blood pressure.
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish have anti-inflammatory properties and reduce oxylipins in your blood. It is a compound that narrows blood vessels to cause blockage in blood flow. Therefore, omega-3 fatty acids lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiac disease. Salmon, tuna, herring and mackerel are all rich in omega 3’s.
Studies have noted that citrus fruits have antihypertensive properties which lower high blood pressure. Vitamin C helps remove excess body fluids, which result in high blood pressure. In addition, the antioxidants prevent radical cell injury that induces multiple disorders like blood pressure, cardiac diseases, diabetes, etc.
Berries have dense dietary fibre and anthocyanins, the colour giving pigment. Study shows anthocyanins increase nitric oxide, which helps dilate the blood vessels. It facilitates smooth blood circulation that results in lowering blood pressure.
Tomatoes contain lycopene. It is an antioxidant and imparts red colour to tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables. A study observes that it helps reduce the risk of hypertension that may cause a heart attack or stroke.
Lycopene reduces low-density lipids or bad cholesterol. Otherwise, it may deposit along the walls of your blood vessels resulting in a blood clot. Moreover, lycopene also increases good cholesterol or HDL.
A study states these seeds, especially flax seeds, contain healthy fats and dietary fibre, regulating healthy blood pressure. They are also dense in magnesium and potassium. A study found they are associated with vasodilation, also known as dilation of blood vessels. Therefore, it helps smooth blood flow, thereby preventing high blood pressure.
Vegetables like broccoli are necessary to regulate blood pressure because it contains flavonoids, an antioxidant that prevents blood pressure. Moreover, it also contains dietary fibre. As a result, it prevents the accumulation of fatty deposits along blood vessels. In addition, studies show broccoli is rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium, minerals that regulate blood pressure.
Research found that spinach effectively regulates high blood pressure as it has a good content of calcium, magnesium, nitrates, potassium, and antioxidants.
Lean meat refers to fat-free meat like skinless chicken, turkey, fatless red meat etc. It is the healthy option for any healthy diet as it prevents unhealthy fat deposition in your body.
Healthy changes in your diet are one of the significant steps for lowering your high blood pressure. These dinner recipes are healthy and straightforward.They have low levels of fat and sodium and have a good amount of potassium, a vital element to reduce your blood pressure. It helps dilate the blood vessels.
The combination of grilled eggplant and tomato served with whole-grain pasta is an easy and healthy dinner.
Calories: 174 kCal per serving
Preparation time: 15 minutes
It is a simple, heart-healthy and nutritious recipe with all the nutrients of beans, sweet potato and spinach.
Calories: 440 kCal
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Roast chicken is not only healthy but also very easy to make. Brussel Sprouts add that extra element of crunch to the dish, so make your Brussels sprouts as crispy as you like.
Calories: 336 kCal
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Calories: 486 kCal
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Lifestyle has a vital role in preventing and regulating your high blood pressure. A healthy lifestyle can help you manage your blood pressure effectively. It includes a well balanced and nutritious diet, exercise etc. Additionally, it also makes you less dependent on medications.
Here are a few lifestyle modifications to lower your high blood pressure.
Weight loss is one of the best lifestyle modifications to regulate your blood pressure. Even a mild weight loss in the case of obese patients indicate a variation in blood pressure. A study states that you can experience a drop of 1-millimetre mercury (the measure of blood pressure), with a decline in each kilogram of loss in body weight.
Regular exercise or a daily workout for about 30 minutes for at least five days a week may reduce your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm of Hg. However, it is necessary to maintain your workout schedule. Otherwise, it may result in relapse. Brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming may help reduce your blood pressure. Yoga and breathing techniques also help.
Exercise also helps reduce stress. A study states that during stress, the body secretes cortisol, a stress hormone that causes your heart to beat abnormally and result in high blood pressure. Brisk walking is an excellent way to destress yourself.
A well balanced and nutritious diet helps to a large extent. It includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and high quality protein. These foods are rich in dietary fibre, antioxidants and essential minerals. They are effective in controlling the factors resulting in high blood pressure.
You may also include a diet rich in potassium. Potassium can balance the sodium level in your body preventing water retention that results in blood pressure. It also helps dilate the blood vessels, ensuring smooth blood flow across the blood vessels. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of potassium.
Abnormal levels of sodium result in the retention of fluids across your body. It, in turn, shoots up the blood pressure. Although it can be challenging to cut off from a sodium diet, you can gradually reduce the salt from your diet as your taste buds adapt to it. It is necessary to reduce the salt intake if you are hypertensive.
Here are a few ways to restrict your sodium levels.
Research proves that alcohol increases your blood pressure. In addition, it has the potential to reduce the nitrates level in the body. Nitrate relaxes your blood vessels to ease blood circulation. Alcohol also damages the walls of the blood vessels causing arterial diseases.
Cigarettes contain nicotine. It may deposit along the walls of the blood vessels. As a result, it narrows the blood vessels, disrupting blood circulation and causing an increase in blood pressure. However, smoking cessation may normalise your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
The Mediterranean diet is known to be the number one diet for its health benefits.
It consists of whole grains like whole wheat, and quinoa. healthy fats like nuts and olive oil, fruits, and a lot of vegetables. That’s the reason it is known to have a lot of health benefits. This like of diet is high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. health professionals around the world even claim that it has a preventive effect on deadly diseases such as cancer.
I highly recommend this diet or at least a part of it to be included in anyone’s meal plans.
Indulging in a Mediterranean diet can help you prevent and control your high blood pressure. since the diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and whole grains. Lowering or preventing blood pressure with dietary changes, mindful approaches, and lifestyle modification are equally beneficial and effective.
However, some food may interact with your medication, complicating your treatment. Therefore, you need to confirm before switching to any diet plan with your doctor. That will help you avoid any adverse effects.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information please contact our certified nutritionists Here
A. Meat with comparatively low-fat content is good for high blood pressure. Chicken, turkey, fish, and lean cuts of meat are good for maintaining blood pressure. Lean meat from animal sources are high in biological value proteins and help in maintaining good heart health.
A. Balanced meals containing all food groups are suitable for hypertension. It includes whole grains, millets, many fruits and vegetables, low fat and low sodium food items. It should also contain high biological value proteins like eggs, chicken, fish, turkey, shrimp etc.
A. Burgers may raise your hypertension as they contain unhealthy fats and mayonnaise along with refined carbohydrates and have minimal amounts of fresh ingredients. However, you can choose a healthy version if available in the market or make a healthier version at home. A healthier version will be low in sodium and devoid of unhealthy fats or preservatives and will not raise blood pressure or lead to hypertension.
A. Mayonnaise is high in saturated fats, triglycerides and sodium as it contains salts and preservatives. Therefore, it is harmful to blood pressure and may result in hypertension.
A. Pickles contain a lot of sodium, oil and salts and preservatives. That is why pickles are harmful to hypertension. Pickles are kept in oil for long periods of time to develop flavour. In this time, the oil can turn rancid, which is very harmful to heart health.
A. Tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, and beetroots are some examples of veggies that are suitable for controlling high blood pressure. That is because they are high in dietary fibres. Therefore, they prevent deposits of unhealthy fats. They also contain potassium which has vasodilation properties.
A. Yes, the Mediterranean diet contains lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and many more healthy ingredients. The dense dietary fibre in fruits and vegetables makes you satiated. In addition, it prevents you from overeating, thus helping you lose weight.
A. Yes, the Mediterranean includes dairy but in moderate quantities comparatively. Low-fat cheese and yoghurt are part of the Mediterranean diet. Skimmed milk or low/no fat milk is allowed as it has less fat and good quality protein.
A. Yes, the Mediterranean diet includes whole-grain pasta or millet pasta. These types of pasta are way healthier than other regularly available refined kinds of pasta. It is dense in nutrients, dietary fibre and minerals and has a much lower glycemic index, than refined products do.