Hypertension: How Diet Plays a Role

Thursday, 13 Jan 2011 09:59 AM

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Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is an ailment that has drastically increased among Americans in recent decades. Often considered a "silent killer," hypertension is marked by an increased pressure that is exerted on the walls of the arteries as the blood gets pumped through the cardiovascular system.

Certain mild and non-specific symptoms of hypertension include nosebleeds, dizziness in the mornings, headaches, and increased palpitations. Since hypertension symptoms remain dormant until major complications arise, hypertensive people often remain undiagnosed. Uncontrolled hypertension can cause extensive damage to vital organs such as kidneys, eyes, heart and blood vessels, and can eventually result in heart failure, stroke, and even premature death.
 
The causes of hypertension are determined mainly from a hypertensive person’s lifestyle. The risk of hypertension accelerates with age, smoking, alcoholism, high levels of blood cholesterol, stress, and obesity. The treatment for hypertension involves anti-hypertensive drugs and diet interventions that help strengthen the arteries, reducing resistance to the arterial blood flow and combating electrolyte imbalance. Adopting a correct diet regime as a treatment tool is necessary when it comes to reducing symptomatic discomfort and maintaining overall heart health.
 
Diet for hypertension
If your diet contains plenty of processed and refined foods, whole milk, and red meat, or if you have a bad HDL to total cholesterol ratio or high cholesterol, then it’s time to seriously reconsider revising your diet. The following are diet tips for hypertension:
 
· Eat a diet that is well balanced and contains plenty of soluble fiber (found in oat bran, lentils, whole grains, and fruits).
 
· Restrict fat intake to no more than 20 to 25 per cent of your daily calorie consumption. Monounsaturated fats, found in olive and canola oil, should be used instead of saturated fats, (present in animal meats and milk products) and trans-fatty acids (found in margarine, processed foods, bakery items).
 
· Include nuts (almonds and walnuts), flax seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish such as pink salmon, trout, tuna, Atlantic herring, and mackerel in the diet. These foods are rich sources of essential fatty acids that are vital for the health of the heart.
 
· Add raw garlic, onions, celery sticks, and avocados to the diet.
 
· Alcohol is known to lower hypertension with its heart–protecting benefits, when had in moderation (3 to 4 drinks a week).
 
· Those who are overweight should adopt a healthy weight-reduction diet plan.
 
· Eexercise regularly and get proper rest to control hypertension naturally.

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