Q:

How should you modify your diet to combat high blood pressure?

A:

Quick Answer

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can be controlled effectively by following the DASH diet, according to the Mayo Clinic. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and it emphasizes foods that are high in fiber, potassium and magnesium.

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How should you modify your diet to combat high blood pressure?
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Full Answer

Patients following the DASH diet should strive for six to eight servings of whole grains each day, such as whole-grain breads and cereals, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta, states the Mayo Clinic. A person should include four to five servings of vegetables each day, such as broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and greens, as well as low-fat fruits, such as apples and grapefruit. Whole fruits are preferable over juice, which typically has added sugar. Two to three servings per day of low-fat or fat-free dairy is allowed, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, as well as six or less servings of lean meat, fish and poultry. Sweets and nuts should be limited to five servings or less per week. Patients should avoid too much saturated fat and exclude trans fats entirely.

Sodium is a key culprit in high blood pressure, and those trying to manage hypertension should strive for no more than 2,300 milligrams per day, according to WebMD. Patients should replace table salt with salt-free seasonings and avoid processed foods, lunch meat and fast food in order to manage sodium levels. It's also helpful to track the amount of sodium intake in a daily food journal.

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