Blood pressure is a measure of how easily blood flows through your body – it is the pressure of blood in your arteries. Uncontrolled high blood pressure, or hypertension, is potentially fatal, yet the condition often goes undetected. Many people are unaware of its seriousness and do not understand how to control it or how it can affect their future health if left untreated.
The good news is that it can often be treated without medication by making some simple diet and lifestyle changes. Perhaps the most important lifestyle factor that influence your blood pressure is food.
Both doctors and scientists have long known that food has an enormous influence on the health of your circulatory system. There is compelling evidence that dietary and other lifestyle changes can almost certaintly prevent a deadly major disease such as heypertension. In terms of diet, there is strong evidence that increasing your intake of one key nutrient – potassium (found in fruit and vegetables) – while limiting salt in your diet is of key importance.
Our diet contains too much salt, fat and sugar, too many processed foods which are packed with all three, and not enough cardiovascular disease (heart, stroke and blood vessel disease) is the leading cause of death. So how can this be addressed?
One of the plans to combat hypertension in use is called DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is a set of guidelines established in 1997 based on an extensive study in the USA of how healthy food choices and reducing salt intake can best reduce blood pressure.
The key is enjoying a low-salt diet with plenty of potassium-rich fruit and vegetables. This magic mineral has been shown scientifically to help reduce high blood pressure. Equally important are staying active and keeping your weight in check. People who follow these principles have achieved not only significantly lower blood pressure but also lower cholesterol and greater energy as well.
So before you turn to medication, take a good hard look at what you’re eating. The good news is that eating to beat high blood pressure has never been easier, and a diagnosis of high blood pressure doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on flavor or give up the foods you love.