High blood pressure damages the blood vessels and is considered a major risk factor for diseases such as heart attack, coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, circulatory problems in the legs, kidney failure and even dementia. With a healthy lifestyle one can prevent in time and also often get an existing hypertension under control. The right nutrition plays a special role in this.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is one of the most widespread diseases, but it is still underestimated by many people. Consequences of high blood pressure can include heart attacks and strokes. Medications are often taken to get the blood pressure values under control again. But a healthy lifestyle with the right diet can also help.
As the German Heart Foundation writes on its website, about 20 million Germans have high blood pressure. Four out of five hypertension sufferers know about their condition, and almost 90 percent of them can be treated. However, not only drugs, but also household remedies and a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet can help to lower blood pressure levels.
Getting used to a healthier lifestyle
As is explained in a contribution on the on-line consumer portal VIS Bavaria, operated by the Bavarian Ministry of State for environment and consumer protection, the goal of the treatment of high blood pressure is to lower the values for the protection of the vessels as well as possible again to normal measure and to prevent subsequent illnesses. Here it concerns first of all to diminish the well-known factors of risk in the everyday life such as lack of movement, smoking, high consumption of alcohol, predominance, salty nutrition as well as stress and to accustom itself to a healthier life-style. This means: taking more exercise, stopping smoking if necessary, holding back on alcoholic beverages, losing weight if you are too heavy, coping with stress and a better diet – which above all must also contain less salt.
Nutritionist Jutta Kamensky – VerbraucherService Bayern, explains in the article that Mediterranean cuisine has proven its worth as the basis for a balanced and needs-based diet in hypertension. Here plentifully vegetable food such as vegetable, fruit, leguminous plants, full grain products, Nüsse and rape, olive or linseed oil with a high portion of unsaturated fatty acids are used. With the animal food in the Mediterranean kitchen milk products, poultry and one to two times per week sea fish are preferred. Beef and pork are only put on the table from time to time.
It is important to know that about three quarters of the table salt consumed comes from ready meals and processed foods. Salt brings taste and makes foods last longer. When shopping, you should therefore take a look at the nutritional information and choose low-salt varieties. Even better is to cook and bake your own food and use fresh ingredients that are naturally low in salt and sodium. This makes it easier to keep control of your daily salt consumption and to take countermeasures in time. People who do not have much time, store their favorite dishes in the freezer. These are usually less salty than purchased ready meals. Beverages such as mineral water or vegetable juice also contain salt or sodium, which is why it is recommended to take a closer look at the list of ingredients.
Reducing the consumption of salt is also of outstanding importance. This is because high salt consumption has a proven effect on the level of blood pressure. The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends a maximum of five to six grams of common salt per day – about a teaspoonful – for high blood pressure. On average, however, adults in this country consume between eight and ten grams of salt daily, men a little more than women. Less salt, however, takes getting used to. Above all because the taste threshold for salt is higher for people with hypertension than for others, explains the nutritionist. It is best to remove the salt shaker permanently from the table and gradually reduce the salt. This helps to concentrate on rediscovering the natural taste of food.
As further explained in the article, the mineral potassium in the body is responsible for the kidneys excreting more water and sodium and for dilating the blood vessels. Therefore, little salt and at the same time a lot of potassium in the diet lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. The smaller the ratio of sodium to potassium, the better. The DGE recommends a daily potassium intake of about 4,000 mg. This is easy to achieve with plenty of vegetables and fruit.
Lower blood pressure with the right diet
Potassium-rich foods include potatoes, vegetables such as peppers, fennel, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and kohlrabi, mushrooms, fruits such as bananas, apricots, kiwi, avocado and honeydew melon, nuts such as hazelnuts, pistachios and almonds, wholemeal products made from buckwheat, spelt or rye, dark chocolate and salmon. Since potassium easily passes into the cooking water during cooking, foods rich in potassium should only be steamed or stewed in a little liquid. If kidney disease is already present, a doctor should be consulted. (ad)
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.