Hypertension cannot be cured, but it can be controlled through lifestyle changes and prescriptive medication. While medications to treat hypertension are available, research has shown that modest lifestyle and dietary changes can help treat and often delay or prevent high blood pressure.
People trying to control hypertension often are advised to decrease sodium, increase potassium, watch their calories, and maintain a reasonable weight.
For sodium-sensitive people, reducing sodium is a prudent approach to reducing the risk of hypertension. The recommendation for daily sodium intake is 1,500 to 2,300 mg a day.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
The causes of high blood pressure vary. According to National Institutes of Health, the causes for high blood pressure may include narrowing of the arteries, a greater than normal volume of blood, or the heart beating faster or more forcefully than it should. Any of these conditions will cause increased pressure against the artery walls. High blood pressure might also be caused by another medical problem. Most of the time, the cause is not known. Diet, definitely, plays a crucial role in the development of hypertension along with stress.
Hypertension is most closely related to dietary factors, especially the "diet of the civilized society." Many dietary factors have been shown to correlate with blood pressure, including sodium to potassium ratio, percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber and magnesium content, and levels of simple carbohydrates, total fats and cholesterol.
Population as well as clinical studies have repeatedly demonstrated that obesity is a major factor in hypertension.
Lifestyle factors such as coffee consumption, alcohol intake, lack of exercise and smoking are all things that are very important causes of elevated blood pressure.
The effects of long-term caffeine consumption on blood pressure have not yet been clearly determined. One large study involving 6,321 adults demonstrated a small elevation in blood pressure when comparing those who drank five or more cups a day to non-coffee drinkers. Short-term studies consistently showed elevation in blood pressure. But that usually normalize after a few days.
Alcohol produce acute hypertension in some patients probably via the increased adrenaline secretion. Chronic alcohol consumption is one of the strongest predictors (sodium consumption being the other) of blood pressure
HYPERTENSION DIET PLAN
- No extra salt other than prescribed should be used.
- Avoid canned and tinned foodstuff, which contains salt.
- Avoid salted butter and cheese.
- Avoid baking powder and soda in all the preparations.
- Avoid salty items, chips, pickles, and pappad.
- If overweight avoid dried fruits, fried foods, sweets and cakes.
- Sour lime or vinegar may be used to make food palatable.
- Increase fibre in the diet in the form of cereals, vegetables and fruits.
Vegetarian Diet & Hypertension
Research has shown that a vegetarian diet (i.e., no meat, poultry or fish) helps maintain normal blood pressure. One study involving 59 healthy omnivores revealed that both systolic and diastolic blood pressure fell when they ate a vegetarian diet and blood pressure levels rose again when they returned to their meat eating diet.
Salt and Hypertension
According to one report in the British Medical Journal, people who consume high amounts of salt are at risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. The recent INTERSALT study measured the salt intake of over 10,000 people in 32 countries and found that a difference of just 6 grams of salt per day was found to result in a difference of systolic blood pressure of 10mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure of 5mm Hg for a 55 year old male or female. These figures suggest that a extra 6 grams of salt consumed daily can increase in the risk of heart disease by 21 percent and stroke by 34 percent.
Water and Hypertension
In the last few years several studies have been published on sodium in drinking water and its effect on blood pressure.
Foods to Avoid for Hypertension
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES - avoid Chianti wine and vermouth. Consumption of red, white, and port WINE in quantities less than 120 mL present little risk. BEER and ALE should also be avoided, however other investigators feel major domestic (US) brands of beer is safe in small quantities (1/2 cup or less than 120 mL), but imported beer should not be consumed unless a specific brand is known to be safe. NONALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES (alcohol- free beer and wines) may contain tyramine and should be avoided.
BEAN CURD - fermented bean curd, fermented soya bean, soya bean pastes contain a significant amount of tyramine.
CHEESE - tyramine content cannot be predicted based on appearance, flavor, or variety and therefore should be avoided. CREAM CHEESE and COTTAGE CHEESE have no detectable level of tyramine .
BANANA PEELS - a single case report implicates a BANANA as the causative agent, which involved the consumption of whole stewed green banana, including the peel. Ripe banana pulp contains 7 mcg/gram of tyramine compared to a peel which contains 65 mcg/gram and 700 mcg of tyramine and dopamine, respectively.
FISH - Smoked, fermented, pickled (Herring) and otherwise aged fish, meat, or any spoiled food may contain high levels of tyramine and should be avoided.
PROTEIN EXTRACTS - three brands of meat extract contained 95, 206, and 304 mcg/gram of tyramine and therefore meat extracts should be avoided. Avoid liquid and powdered PROTEIN DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS.
GINSENG - some preparations have resulted in a headache, tremulousness, and manic-like symptoms.
MEAT, nonfresh or liver - no detectable levels identified in fresh chicken livers; high tyramine content found in spoiled or unfresh livers. Fresh meat is safe, caution suggested in restaurants. SAUSAGE, BOLOGNA, PEPPERONI and SALAMI contain large amounts of tyramine.
YEAST, Brewer's or extracts - yeast extracts (Marmite) which are spread on bread or mixed with water, Brewer's yeast, or yeast vitamin supplements should not be consumed.