Food And Diet Advice For Dealing With High Blood Pressure

    Food And Diet Advice For Dealing With High Blood Pressure

    Millions of people worldwide deal with high blood pressure on a daily basis. Although it has long been established that high blood pressure is one of the most common reasons for outpatient visits, blood pressure control has often proven to be inadequate. Anti-hypertensive medications can prove to be costly and may not work as well for everyone.

    It is thus advised that a change in diet would be more prudent for people dealing with high blood pressure (BP). The thinking is that if a person can control their own food intake, then they can watch what they eat for their own personal health. It’s a question of self-motivation to eat better to lower blood pressure.

    The DASH Diet

    Aside from exercise, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is recommended for BP reduction in overweight individuals. A DASH diet is high in low-fat dairy products and fiber, including fruits and vegetables. Patients on this diet had reductions in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). These reductions were 5.5 and 3.0mm Hg, respectively, compared with those on a standard diet.

    With healthy options such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, and low-fat dairy, the DASH diet has become a popular choice in decreasing hypertension. These foods are high in key nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and protein.

    The DASH diet can lower blood pressure because it has less salt and sugar than the typical diet. Desserts, sweetened beverages, fats, red meat, and processed meats are cut out in the DASH diet.

    How to Start a DASH Diet

    To start the DASH diet, these recommendations based on 2,000 calories a day is advisable:

    • Grains: 7-8 daily servings (serving sizes: 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta, 1 ounce dry cereal)
    • Vegetables: 4-5 daily servings (1 cup raw leafy greens, 1/2 cup cooked vegetable)
    • Fruits: 4-5 daily servings (1 medium fruit, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen fruit, 1/4 cup dried fruit, 6 ounces fruit juice)
    • Low-fat or fat-free dairy products: 2-3 daily servings (8 ounces milk, 1 cup yogurt, 1.5 ounces cheese)
    • Lean meat, poultry, and fish: 2 or fewer servings a day (3 ounces cooked meat, poultry, or fish)
    • Nuts, seeds, and legumes: 4-5 servings per week (1/3 cup nuts, 2 tablespoons seeds, 1/2 cup cooked dry beans or peas)
    • Fats and oils: 2-3 daily servings (1 teaspoon vegetable oil or soft margarine, 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons light salad dressing)
    • Sweets: less than 5 servings per week. (1 tablespoon sugar, jelly, or jam)

    Evidence suggests that decreases in BP are associated with improvements in left ventricular structure and function, and peripheral vascular health. Both exercise training and weight loss have been shown to decrease left ventricular mass and wall thickness. It may also reduce arterial stiffness and improve endothelial function.

    Reducing Weight to Lower High Blood Pressure

    Aside from a change in diet, a reduction in body weight works in lowering high BP. Reductions in blood pressure that occur with weight loss may be due specifically to regular exercise. In many cases, weight loss in hypertensive persons dramatically reduces and even eliminates antihypertensive medication requirements. In up to 50% of adults in the US taking medicine for hypertension, a modest reduction in body weight could alleviate the need for drug therapy.

    For overweight or obese persons with above-normal BP, the addition of exercise and weight loss to the DASH diet resulted in even larger BP reductions. It also led to greater improvements in vascular and autonomic function, and reduced left ventricular mass.

    High blood pressure reduction is possible thanks to prescribed medication. But the combination of diet changes and an exercise regimen for weight loss has proven to be effective as well. The DASH diet in particular works for people dealing with hypertension.

    Learn more about Hypertension here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


    Eating with High Blood Pressure: Food and Drinks to Avoid,, Accessed November 24, 2021

    High Blood Pressure Diet,, Accessed November 24, 2021

    Effects of Exercise, Diet and Weight Loss on High Blood Pressure,, Accessed November 24, 2021

    Effects of the DASH Diet Alone and in Combination With Exercise and Weight Loss on Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Biomarkers in Men and Women With High Blood Pressure,, Accessed November 24, 2021

    Body weight and blood pressure regulation,, Accessed November 24, 2021

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    Written by Jason Inocencio Updated Aug 24
    Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen