Does diet play a role in high blood pressure? Are there certain foods that increase blood pressure or are there certain foods that can lower blood pressure or make it easier to control? In this article we will look at some of the studies that have looked at association between diet and blood pressure, and also the effect of dietary modifications on blood pressure. In this article we examine the relationship between diet and high blood pressure. We will also look at foods that may lower blood pressure. In some cases it may be difficult to control blood pressure no matter how many medicines and diet is an important factor to consider.
A Bad Diet May Lead To High Blood Pressure
A bad diet is known to lead to disease, disability and death. The main reason for this is due to the association of a poor diet with heart disease. It is thought that diet is related to the development of high blood pressure. For this reason lifestyle modification is recommended as the initial treatment for those with elevated blood pressure. Dietary modification is also felt to be an important complement to medical treatments for high blood pressure.
The guidelines currently recommend lifestyle modification, weight loss and healthy eating. Healthy eating is not well defined; however, they recommend approaches such as the DASH diet. DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and reduction in sodium intake.
Low Salt Lowers Blood Pressure
Salt has been a relatively controversial subject when it comes to cardiovascular health, diet, and blood pressure. Scientific studies show that a reduction in salt intake (<2grams/day) can lead to a 5-point reduction in blood pressure on average in patients with high blood pressure.
Potassium Is Important For Blood Pressure Control
Interestingly potassium intake is also thought to be an important part of the association between diet and blood pressure. In one study, increased potassium intake led to a reduction in blood pressure of 5 points on average.
Most Studies Show Vegetables And Fruit Are Beneficial For Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that a diet high in vegetables and fruit may decrease the chance of developing higher blood pressure. It was also shown that increased intake of meat was associated with an increase in blood pressure over several years follow up. Most providers would recommend a diet higher in fruits and vegetables and lower in red meat and poultry to reduce the risk of developing high BP.
Low Fat Dairy May Be Beneficial For Blood Pressure
Studies have also looked at intake of dairy. The Rotterdam study demonstrates that intake of low fat dairy products may prevent the onset of high blood pressure. This has also been found in other studies examining this.
Nut Intake May Be Beneficial To Lower Blood Pressure
A Chinese study looked at the association between nut intake and blood pressure. It was found that a higher intake of nuts was associated with reduced risk of developing high blood pressure.
Cocoa May Play A Role In Blood Pressure Lowering
Many studies have looked at the relationship between cocoa intake and blood pressure. Recently a study looked closely at a number of these studies and found that flavanol rich cocoa products may have some blood pressure lowering effects. The studies did not allow a clear conclusion or doses to be recommended.
Tea May Be Beneficial
Studies have also suggested that intake of tea; either green tea or non-green tea may be associated with decrease in blood pressure or prevention of elevated blood pressure. Intake of coffee in regular coffee drinkers may also have beneficial cardiovascular effects.
DASH Diet And Blood Pressure
The DASH diet is centered on high intake of fruit and vegetables, low fat dairy, nuts, legumes, and low intakes of meat and saturated fats. Multiple studies have demonstrated that a DASH type diet is associated with decreases in blood pressure that are as effective as a blood pressure agent. Although DASH type diets are known to be effective over a few years, the long-term effect has not yet been proven and needs further study.
Nordic Diet and Blood Pressure
The Nordic diet consists of whole grains, berries, fruit, vegetables, nuts and low fat dairy. In countries where this diet is followed, it has been associated with significant reductions in blood pressure. Many investigators believe that the high berry content in this diet is a key component.
Mediterranean Diet And Blood Pressure
The Mediterranean diet has received much attention as it has been reported to be beneficial in cardiovascular disease states. Its effect on blood pressure specifically has also been examined, although to a lesser degree. It is based on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes and moderate dairy and meat with low red meat. It is heavy on olive oil as its major fat source. Studies have demonstrated a potential blood pressure lowering effect although further studies are required as others show conflicting results.
Diet and Blood Pressure
It is likely that dietary habits play a significant role in the control of blood pressure and also the prevention of high blood pressure. Of course all studies have limitations and so there is no one single preferred plan to follow. In general, a healthy approach to diet with the components mentioned above would typically be recommended for those suffering from high blood pressure or simply looking for a diet to lower blood pressure or prevent the onset of high blood pressure.