Adjusting your Diet for High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when your blood pressure is unusually high. Many of us have our blood pressure checked as part of our routine doctor’s visits, which is important because there are generally no symptoms of having high blood pressure.
While there may not be any symptoms of high blood pressure, it can certainly have a negative effect on your health. Having high blood pressure puts constant strain on your blood vessels, heart, brain, kidneys, and even your eyes. It can also increase your risk of other serious and often life-threatening conditions like heart attack, heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease, and strokes.
If you or a senior loved one has recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure, the good news is that you can lower it with a few small lifestyle changes! Even lowering your blood pressure a little bit can greatly improve your health. As with most things, diet is key, so here’s how to adjust your diet to help lower your blood pressure.
Track What You Eat
Do you have any idea how many calories you eat every day? How many grams of protein? What about your average daily sodium intake? Most of us don’t keep track of everything we eat and drink on a daily basis, but if you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure, tracking your food can help you better understand if you’re eating too much or too little.
There are many free food tracking apps like My Fitness Pal that you can use to track what you eat on a daily basis. You may be eating much more than you think, and getting control of your diet and portion sizes will help you lower your blood pressure.
Alcohol can also have a negative impact on your blood pressure, so cutting back on your alcohol consumption is recommended.
Avoid Salt (Sodium)
For many people, a diet high in sodium will increase blood pressure. While we all get cravings for salty snacks every once in a while, it’s recommended to keep salty foods to a minimum if you’re trying to lower your blood pressure. Tracking your food will help you be aware of how much sodium you’re consuming on a daily basis.
You can reduce your sodium intake by avoiding processed foods, using salt-free seasonings and spices, eating fewer fast foods, and asking restaurants to please skip the salt when you eat out. Many restaurants also have low-sodium options, so check the menu or ask your server.
Know What to Eat
There are many delicious foods you can incorporate into your diet that work to lower your blood pressure. Look for foods with potassium, magnesium and fiber. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, seeds, and legumes are all excellent sources of magnesium, so incorporating them into your regular diet will be very beneficial to you as you work to lower your blood pressure.
If you have any questions about how to create an appropriate diet for high blood pressure, or if you’d like more information about helping your older loved one manage their high blood pressure, please contact our team at UMC today. We look forward to hearing from you.