Bloog Preasure and Diet That Can Reduce It
by Vladimir Stojnic
How many time we have heard from our medical caregiver that we must lower the sodium intake? Eventhough, sodium is essential for most of the chemical reaction in our body, we are obusing it. Excesive sodium intake can trigger many negative changes in the chemical balance our body tend to stay in. NHLBI, an abbreviation for National Health, Lung, Blood Institute, is a government association that educate, support and fund research related to prevention of heart, lung and blood diseases. This institution is creating awerness of excesive sodium and how is it correlated to a raise of the blood presure.
Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood on artery walls that is coming out of heart. Standard international measurement unit millimeters of Mercury (mmHg) and two readings are important. Systolic, a pressure on the artery walls when a heart beats, and diastolic, a pressure when heart rests in between beats.
A healthy blood pressure (BP) is when systolic does not exceeds 120 mmHg and diastolic does not go over 80 mmHg. Even slight constant elevation of BP is considered unhealthy and should be cautiously watched.
According to NHLBI, there are 5 steps that will help in maintaining a healthy BP:
- maintaining a healthy weight
- moderate physical activity on most of the days of the week
- following of healthy eating plan, which includes food lower in sodium
- alcohol consumption should be moderate
- medication for the high blood pressure should be taken as prescribed by proper medical staff.
Among many unhealthy changes and potential diseases that could be triggered by high blood pressure, studies have shown that the heart and kidney disease beside stroke and blindness are the most common one that are connected with no treatment of high BP.
DASH is a dietary approach in stoping high BP. The actual word is made up of acronyms (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hyperextention) and its an eating plan which prolongs lower sodium intake.
- The first study looked at the food intake of a group of 469 adults, proportionally mixed gender and race, with systolic blood pressure not greater that 160 mmHg and diastolic 80-95 mmHg. They where divided into three groups. Control group had not made any changes in their diet and the BP remained as it was before the study. The group that incorporated more fruits and vegetables into the regular American diet had some positive changes towards lowering the BP, where participants who followed DASH diet had the most dramatic change.
- The second study, which involved 412 participants, looked at the correlation of sodium intake on level of BP. Groups were assigned to follow either regular American diet or DASH, and they were followed for a month. Participants were divided into three groups, high sodium intake (diet with over 3,300 mg per day), intermediate level (2,300 mg per day) and low level of sodium consumption per day (1, 500 mg). On every level, study showed, DASH diet in comparison to the other diet had more success in lowering BP. The biggest drop of BP was seen in the DASH diet with 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
From both studies we could see that lower sodium intake has significant impact on lowering the risk of hypertension of an American individual.
The DASH eating plan is scientifically proved way of how to reach or control a healthy BP. The eating plan is constructed out of groups of foods and amounts of servings per day. The suggested food plan has been adjusted to any level of daily caloric intake.
Listed below are the groups and number of servings within each group and it is based on 2,600 kcal/ day diet.
Grains 10-11 ser/day
Vegetables 5-6 ser/day
Fruits 5-6 ser/day
Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products 3 ser/day
Lean meats, poultry and fish 6 ser/day
Nuts, seeds and legumes 1 ser/day
Fats and oils 3 ser/day
Sweets and added sugars <2 ser/day.
The DASH diet prolongs a healthy food intake like MyPlate. Both diets are designed to lower the energy dense foods and both are enhancing the nutrient dense food intake. The only difference that DASH eating plan put emphasize is the behavioral change in sodium consumption. My studies, two that we looked at, have showed us that DASH diet prolongs a lower sodium intake which is correlated to better health.
The increase of potassium intake in DASH eating plan was seen as a good preventer or controller of BP. The potassium-rich foods are proven to be good reducers of hypertension. Major potassium foods are found in vegetables, fruits and fish. Supplemental sources are not as effective as the one found in natural sources. If its combined with a low sodium intake, the DASH diet is a powerful weapon against hypertension.
The main two way of lowering sodium in our diet are more careful approach to processed foods and increase of intake of natural, raw fruit and vegetable. Reading of labels and choosing a lower sodium product could help in control of healthy BP. example of it would be the usage of low fat or fat free milk and milk products in exchange of whole milk. The cooking requires table salt seasoning. If we lower the salt usage in cooking process, it could significantly benefit our level of BP. This kind of change must be gradually applied due to the adaptation and adjustment.