Diet for hypertension
What is hypertension?
Hypertension refers to raised blood pressure. The optimal level of blood pressure in adults is < 120/80. There are several factors that increase risk of hypertension, they are:
- Family history,
- African American ancestry,
- Excessive salt consumption,
- Physical inactivity,
- Alcohol consumption.
What dietary modifications are required for hypertension?
Your diet needs to be assessed for calories consumption and salt consumption. If you are overweight or obese, you need to lose weight by reducing the total calorie consumption.
For this you may select reducing weight by preferring complex carbohydrates than simpler carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates include fresh green vegetables, fruits and whole cereals while simple carbohydrates are sugar. Secondary to carbohydrates, the total consumption of fats especially saturated fats and cholesterol should also be reduced.
Last but not the least, limit the intake of salt. Avoid using table salt. Maintain adequate intake of dietary potassium. Eat more fresh fruits containing high potassium like grapes, mosambi, avla, berries, plums, peaches, etc as they help in lowering the blood pressure. However, if you are a kidney patient, these high potassium fruits should be avoided.
Limit the intake of alcohol and increase aerobic physical activity. Avoid smoking.
Which type of salt should be used for hypertensive patients?
Patients with hypertension can take low sodium salt in daily routine instead of normal salt. However, it should not be taken in excess quantity.
What are the further instructions that need to be followed to maintain blood pressure under control?
- Avoid adding salt to chapatis, rice, salad, curds, etc.
- You can add few drops of lemon juice, vinegar, amchur, salt free tamarind pulp, salt free raw mango pulp, green chillies, mixed herbs or oregano to make food more palatable.
- Avoid papads, pickles, jam, jellies, sauces, etc.
- Avoid the use of food items containing soda or baking powder like cakes, pastries, pasta, pizzas, donoughts, etc.
- Avoid biscuits like khari, butter, toast, puffs, cookies and other salted biscuits, salted popcorns, salted chips, salted khakhras, etc
- Avoid the use of salted items like salted peanuts, salted almonds, salted cashewnuts, etc.
- Avoid the use of butter, cheese and other tinned items. However, homemade butter (makhan) can be used, but in restricted amounts.
- Avoid the use of cold drinks and canned fruit juices.
- Avoid organ meats like kidney, liver, brain.
- Avoid fishes like lobster, salmon, sardine, all kinds of salted fishes, prawns and crabs.