Our everyday diet is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Here are some dietary guidelines for hypertension.
High blood pressure or hypertension is a common condition affecting one in four adult Singaporeans.
Hypertension refers to a condition where the blood is pumped around the body at a higher pressure. Hypertension is a silent killer as it may not produce any symptoms. Prolonged high blood pressure can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of developing kidney failure, coronary heart disease and stroke.
Regular exercise and a healthy diet that includes foods that lower blood pressure can help manage hypertension naturally. This approach may also reduce your reliance on medication to control the disease.
Related: Eat to Lower Blood Pressure
Salt contains 40 percent sodium, which is a mineral essential for the normal functioning of the body. However, if eaten in excess, sodium raises blood pressure, especially in sodium-sensitive individuals. Scientific studies have provided strong evidence that lowering sodium intake is beneficial in reducing blood pressure.
Salt and sauces added in food preparation and at the table contribute to most of the sodium we consume daily. Canned and processed foods also generally have a high sodium content.
Here are ways to effectively reduce sodium intake:
Related: My Healthy Plate
Wholegrains, fruits and vegetables are high in fibre, magnesium and potassium, which are beneficial foods that lower blood pressure.
Related: More Fibre for a Fit and Fabulous You
Dietary fat is high in calories, and excessive intake can lead to weight gain and increase your risk of developing high blood pressure.
Use the Nutrition Information Panel on food labels to select products that are lower in total fat, saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. A simple way to identify a healthier product within each food category is to select those with the Healthier Choice Symbol.
When you eat out, do a visual check and pick cooked food items that do not look greasy. Avoid oily, deep-fried food and dishes with gravies that have oil floating on the surface.
Related: Getting the Fats Right!
Frequent consumption of alcohol causes your heart to pump harder and faster, thereby increasing blood pressure. Avoid alcohol if you have high blood triglycerides levels, kidney disease, diabetes mellitus or heart disease.
Related: Alcohol and Health: Setting Your Drink Limits
Besides eating foods for high blood pressure control, one of the most effective ways to combat hypertension is to lose some weight if you are overweight. Even a modest weight loss goes a long way to reducing blood pressure. Stick to a diet with fewer calories and engage in regular exercise to achieve a healthy weight.
For more personalised dietary guidelines for hypertension, make an appointment with a dietitian.
It is recommended that you consult a dietitian to evaluate your current eating habits and an assessment of your specific dietary needs for your health conditions. Individualised advice and a nutrition plan can be developed to meet your nutritional needs.
You will need to obtain a referral from your doctor for a consultation with a dietitian.
Disclaimer: This page has been produced to provide general nutrition information. It is not designed to replace any treatment or advice by a dietitian or doctor.
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This article was last reviewed on
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
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