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Can dietary changes be used to reduce high blood pressure?

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Dietary changes can be an effective way to reduce high blood pressure without the use of medication, according to the Mayo Clinic. Limiting daily alcohol consumption to one serving, for women and for men over 65 years of age, or two servings for younger men can improve high blood pressure. In some people, caffeine raises blood pressure, so patients should test their caffeine tolerance by taking their blood pressure prior to consuming caffeine and within 30 minutes after consuming caffeine.

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People can decrease their blood pressure up to 2 to 8 mm Hg by limiting their sodium intake, notes the Mayo Clinic. Patients with greater salt sensitivity should limit their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day or less. Some ways to reduce sodium intake include decreasing processed food intake, adding herbs and spices to replace salt in foods and choosing low sodium alternatives to favorite foods.

Research indicates that eating a healthy diet can lower high blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg, states the Mayo Clinic. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension plan is a diet that recommends eating low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and limiting foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Patients can also ask their doctors if they should increase their intake of potassium-rich foods to improve their blood pressure.

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