Diet is the very first thing that hypertensive patients need to change. A right diet can dramatically reduce blood pressure. The patient should eat more foods that can help reduce cholesterol in blood and eat fewer foods that could pile them up. The arteries and blood vessels get clogged because of too much cholesterol or fat present in it. The patient has to get rid of cholesterol to make blood move faster and make blood pressure normal.
Diet for high blood pressure (hypertension) should be low in sodium (salt), saturated fats and cholesterol, and high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, potassium and magnesium. The hypertensive patients should be given meals prepared at home from fresh products rather than prepackaged foods. Almost all prepackaged and precooked meals are high in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol, while low in other important nutrients.
A high blood pressure diet must include vegetables, legumes, kidney beans, split peas and lentils. They are rich sources of fiber, which can dissolve cholesterol in the blood. They have high vitamins and minerals content.
The patient with hypertension should be given up to three servings of fish a week. Fishes that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mullet, mackerel, tuna, sardines, herring and trout are good for heart. If the patient does not like fish, give him a supplement of fish oil. When choosing meat, the patient should prefer lean meats and poultry. These are always a healthier choice.
The patients should take fruits and vegetables that are high in magnesium and potassium. Both minerals have been proved to reduce blood pressure. Foods rich in potassium are apricots, sultanas, raisins, figs, all bran, dried fruits, seeds and nuts, potatoes, bananas, tomatoes and avocados. Foods high in magnesium are broccoli, black beans, peanuts, oysters, soymilk, spinach, scallops, whole grain cereal and whole wheat bread.
The patient should lower the intake of saturated fat. Saturated fat increases LDL (low-density lipoprotein), and this builds up in the arteries and is known as atherosclerosis. When the arteries harden with the mineral calcium, it creates plaque, which diminishes the blood flow causing more blood pressure. In some cases, the plaque can even break off and block a blood vessel, which causes a stroke or a heart attack.
The patient should avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. Of all types of alcoholic beverages, he should keep clear of beers the most. Beers can drastically raise blood pressure to the extent that the walls of the blood vessels get damaged.