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Hypertension increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and kidney disease. Oftentimes, the cause of hypertension cannot be determined. Although changing your diet may not eliminate the need for medication, it can, through a few simple measures, enhance the effectiveness of your treatment and may even help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
The DASH or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet is an eating plan aimed at improving high blood pressure. The focus of this diet is on increasing one's intake of fruits, vegetables, low fat milk and dairy products, whole grains, chicken, fish and nuts, and decreasing one's intake of fat, red meat and sugar.
Eating too much sodium can increase blood pressure. If your pressure is already high, you can help reduce it by decreasing your sodium intake. The Canadian Hypertension Education Program recommends limiting sodium intake to 2000 mg (5 g of salt) per day.
You can limit your salt intake by avoiding very salty foods, such as:
Tips to reduce sodium (salt) consumption:
Potassium appears to reduce blood pression in those with hypertension. It is found in fresh foods such as potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, oranges, bananas, cantaloupes, dates, dairy products, nuts, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, peanuts, almonds and dried apricots. Warning! Potassium can however interact with several drugs and become in excess in your body . If you are taking medications to control your blood pressure, talk to your pharmacist to make sure that you can safely increase your potassium intake.
Hypertension can be caused or worsened by excess weight. Try to maintain a healthy weight. If you need to lose some excess weight, talk to your dietician who will suggest ways to modify your diet. Once you reach your healthy weight, try to maintain it by eating balanced meals.
There is a strong link between hypertension and consumption of 4 or more drinks per day. It is recommended that you limit your consumption of alcohol to a maximum of 2 drinks per day and consumption for men should not exceed 14 drinks per week and 9 drinks per week for women (one drink is equal to a glass of wine, one beer or one ounce of spirits).
Always watch your diet: it has a strong impact on your health!
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.