Diet for High Blood Pressure

Following a high blood pressure diet can reduce your risk for hypertension. Research studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of what's known as the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). This blood pressure-lowering diet includes fish, whole grains, and poultry, and calls for reduced amounts of sweets, red meats, and fats.

High Blood Pressure Diet: An Overview

Studies have shown that a diet for high blood pressure can both reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and lower an already elevated blood pressure. In fact, two recent research studies have shown that by following a specific high blood pressure diet, blood pressure can be reduced by an amount similar to that seen with blood pressure medicine.

Diet for High Blood Pressure: The DASH Eating Plan

"DASH" stands for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension." This diet has been studied in several clinical trials, looking at the effects of certain foods on blood pressure. Study results indicated that elevated blood pressures were reduced by a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods and is low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol. The DASH diet includes:
  • Whole grains
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Nuts.
The DASH diet has reduced amounts of:
  • Fats
  • Red meats
  • Sweets
  • Sugared beverages.
A second clinical study, called "DASH-Sodium," looked at the effect of a reduced dietary sodium intake on blood pressure as people followed either the DASH diet for high blood pressure or a typical American diet. Results showed that reducing dietary sodium lowered blood pressure for both the DASH diet and the typical American diet. The biggest blood pressure-lowering benefits were for those following the DASH eating plan at the lowest sodium level (1,500 milligrams per day).
The DASH-Sodium study shows the importance of lowering sodium intake, regardless of your diet. But for a true winning diet for high blood pressure, follow the DASH eating plan and lower your intake of salt and sodium.
(Click DASH Diet for more information on this high blood pressure diet or click Salt and High Blood Pressure for information on how to lower your salt intake.)
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