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Nutrition Packs a Punch for Lowering High Blood Pressure

Nutrition Packs a Punch for Lowering High Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, nutrition is one of the most important weapons in your arsenal to combat it. Below are the top ways nutrition packs a punch to lower your blood pressure:

SAFETY NET

Read labels to make the best choices for heart health – low sodium, high protein and omega-3 fatty acids are a winning combination.

Slash Salt

Canadians eat much more salt than required for health. Most of our salt comes from our intake of ready-to-eat processed/packed foods, eating out, canned foods, and condiments. Limiting dietary sodium intake to 1500-2300 mg per day is recommended if you have high blood pressure.1 Remove the salt shaker from your table and be sure to read labels and choose lower sodium foods. For more information check out our article “Less Salt More Heart.”

Dive into the DASH Diet

The DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet which has been shown in research to lower blood pressure consistently, emphasizes plenty of fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy foods, and reduced saturated fat.This plan also includes whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts.3 It is low in red meat, sweets, added sugars, and sugar-containing beverages typical in North American diets.3 The DASH diet is also rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, as well as protein and fibre.3

Below is a sample of the DASH diet for someone that needs about 2000 calories per day. If your calorie level is higher or lower the daily servings would need to be adjusted to suit your needs. For a detailed guide on the DASH diet visit:
www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/new_dash.pdf

2000 Calorie DASH Diet4

DASH Food Group

Daily Servings

Serving Sizes

Grains

6-8

1 slice bread
1 oz ready-to-eat cereal
1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta, or cereal

Vegetables

4-5

1 cup raw leafy vegetable
1/2 cup cooked or raw vegetables
½ cup vegetable juice

Fruits

4-5

1 medium fruit
1/4 cup dried fruit
1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit
½ cup fruit juice

Low-fat or fat-free dairy foods

2-3

1 cup milk
1 cup yogurt
1 1/2 ounces cheese

Lean meats, poultry, and fish

6 or less

1 ounce cooked meat, poultry, fish
1 egg

Nuts, seeds, and legumes

4-5 per week

1/3 cup or 1 ½ ounces nuts
2 tablespoons or ½ ounce seeds
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup cooked legumes (dry beans and peas)

Fats & oils

2-3

1 teaspoon soft margarine
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 tablespoons salad dressing
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Sweets and added sugars

5 or less per week

1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon jelly or jam
½ cup sorbet, gelatin
8 ounces lemonade

Limit Alcohol

Reducing your alcohol consumption to less than two drinks per day can reduce your blood pressure. The Canadian Hypertension Education Program recommends men have no more than 14 drinks per week and women have no more than 9 drinks per week.1

Manage a Healthy Weight

Managing a healthy weight is one of the most important ways you can keep your blood pressure healthy. Even losing a few pounds if you are overweight often lowers your blood pressure. For more information on the most effective ways to lose weight visit our article “Weight Loss Wisdom.”

Looking for More Information?
Heart and Stroke Foundation www.heartandstroke.ca
The Canadian Hypertension Society www.hypertension.ca

References:
1 2007 Canadian Hypertension Education Program Recommendations www.hypertension.ca .
2 Heart and Stroke Foundation 
3 Clinical Cardiology. The DASH Diet: A Clinical Success Story in Hypertension Control. Vol 22, No 7, July 1999, Supplement III. 
4 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure With DASH. NIH Publication No. 06-4082. Revised 2006.