- The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute promotes the DASH diet for lowering high blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, and the eating plan is the result of studies supported by the institute. The key element of the diet is a low intake of sodium or salt. It also includes reduced intake of red meats, saturated fats, sugars and starches.
On this diet, a typical breakfast would be a small bowl of whole grain cereal with low-fat milk, a banana and a slice of whole grain bread with 1 tsp. of low-salt margarine. Wash it down with a cup of orange juice.
For lunch, you could enjoy low-salt, low-fat chicken salad on two slices of whole grain bread accompanied by a garden salad with low-fat, low-salt dressing and a bit of fruit salad.
Dinner is 3 oz. of lean beef with a cup of sautéed green beans, with the beans cooked in canola oil or other heart-friendly oil. Along with the meat and vegetable, you can have a small baked potato with fat-free sour cream and low-fat cheddar cheese.
The quantity of the servings is important. Your salt intake is restricted to approximately 2,000 mg a day, and your daily calorie intake is approximately 2,000.
- Cutting all meat and meat byproducts out of your diet may lower your blood pressure. Red meat, chicken and pork contain high levels of fat. The fat from these foods is difficult for your body to process, and the result is high cholesterol. High cholesterol is associated with high blood pressure. Cut out the source of the cholesterol, and you remove the substance that causes your blood pressure to rise. A diet high in fruits and vegetables along with whole grains may reduce your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels.
While meat and meat byproducts contain substances that may cause harm, they are also excellent sources of protein. If you decide to go vegetarian, you need to replace your source of protein. Foods such as peanut butter provide protein, but these packaged foods may be high in sodium. Use only low-fat, low-sodium foods.
Fish and Fiber
- Increasing your fish intake may also lower your blood pressure. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty oil, an organic compound that promotes a healthy circulatory system. Replacing the meat in your meals three times a week with fish may have a positive affect on your blood pressure.
Fiber improves your digestive system, which, in turn, keeps the "bad stuff" from building up in your circulatory system. The right kind of fiber, such as whole grain breads and pastas, aids in the proper processing of cholesterol and reduces toxin build-up in the blood stream.
Eating fewer salty foods and meats and increasing your fish and fiber intake are two key elements to lowering your blood pressure. Have your blood pressure checked regularly to ensure your dietary changes are having the desired effect.