High blood pressure patients can control their problem by making simple dietary changes. With balanced and healthy diet and medicine, one can enjoy better health.
The medical nutritional therapy (MNT) for high blood pressure patients involves DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). It is a diet low in sodium and fats and rich in fruits and vegetables. General guidelines for high blood pressure patients include:
Reducing salt intake as it can raise the pressure in many patients.
Limiting fats, especially saturated such as butter, margarine, ghee and oil. One can however, use two to three servings of unsaturated fats per week such as vegetable and canola oil. If necessary, use low-fat mayonnaise in recipes.
Altering your cooking methods. For instance, steaming, shallow frying or grilling can be done instead of deep frying. Also, reduce the amount of oil while cooking.
Avoiding red and organ meat as they contain many saturated fats. Instead, eat one to two servings of steamed or boiled lean meat for instance, chicken or fish. (One serving is equal to one inch to one and a half inches meat piece).
Eating more cereals; for example, oatmeal, barley, wheat, maize, and legumes and rice. They contain fiber which are helpful for the body. Use six to seven servings of cereals in a day.
Eating more fruits and vegetables as they are rich in potassium required for patients. Potassium-rich produce includes banana, guava, plum, papaya, pineapple, potato, and sweet potato, tomato, eggplant and leafy-green vegetables.
Using non-fat dairy products. One should take not more than two servings of low-fat milk or yoghurt each day. Avoid cheddar cheese. Cottage cheese is a better option as it has low fat content.
Avoiding fizzy and caffeinated drinks. Blood pressure patients are usually given these drinks in milk to lower the pressure. It is only a myth.
Avoiding bakery, junk and processed foods and foods with hidden sugars such as chutneys, ketchups, sauces and pickles. They are rich in salts and sugars content.
The writer is a nutritionist at Shifa International Hospital, Faisalabad