Diet Management For Hypertension
Blood pressure is at its highest every time the heart pumps out blood to the arteries, which is about 60-70 times a minute. In India, most adults have a blood pressure reading between 120IO to 14OiO which shows that they are in the risk zone and should take relevant steps to bring down the blood pressure. Many experts lay stress on eating nutrition-rich foods to control diet and keep blood pressure levels in check. Focus is also on managing weight, controlling sodium levels and maintaining general nutrition levels
- Reducing sodium intake.
- Maintaining nutrition levels.
- Maintaining body weight below normal weight.
Diet And Eating Pattern
Since low energy diets are basically low fat diets, the amount of fat must be lessened. In order to raise the ratio of saturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids to one and higher, the diet has to be modified. And to attain this, polyunsaturated fats should replace saturated fats.
Hypertensive patients usually follow a normal diet. The difference is just in sodium or salt content in the diet. It is advised that the food for the patient have no salt. The food can be made palatable by adding alternate seasonings.
For patients who are going through drug therapy with diuretics it is necessary to add potassium to the diet. To name a few foods that are low in sodium but high in potassium are bananas, squash. legumes and apricots.
Restriction Of Sodium
Extreme Restriction – No salt is allowed in cooking and only 200- 300 mg (9-3OmEq)/day. It applies to patients suffering from edema, cirrhosis of liver and congestive heart failure.
Severe Restriction – No salt is allowed in cooking, only 500 to 700mg /day. The restriction is for patients who have edema, congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of liver, renal disease, patients not on dialysis and edema.
Moderate restriction – No salt is used in cooking only about 1000 to 1500 mg/day. Conditions are applied on patients who are borderline hypertensive
Mild restriction – A little amount of salt in cooking, about 2000 to 3000 mg/day.
Foods With Sodium
Fish, common salt, dry fish, meat, egg white, poultry, pickled vegetables, canned vegetables, certain green leafy vegetables like fenugreek leaves, spinach and baked items.
Low Sodium Foods
Fruits, unsalted butter, unsalted popcorn, unsalted cereals, sugar, oil, broccoli, pulled rice, chickpeas and cucumber.
Other Foods Containing Sodium
Baking powder, sodium acetate, baking soda, MSG and water which is alkalized, sedatives and laxatives.
Fish and meat should be kept in lime juice, low fat dressing or vinegar before cooking. Unsalted butter and baking powder can be used in small quantities. Sugar, tamarind extract, cinnamon, onion, herbs, garlic and spices etc. are also good substitutes.
Points To Remember
- Enhance food flavours and make it palatable by using vinegar, tamarind and lime while cooking.
- Add tomatoes and fresh vegetable salads in the diet.
- Use herbs, lemon, condiments, amchur powder, tamarind, ginger garlic, chillies etc.
It is advised that the food for hypertensive patients have no salt. The food can be made palatable by adding alternate seasonings
Hidden Sources Of Sodium
Canned foods, sausages, cheese of all varieties, commercial salad dressings, pickles and soft drinks that contain sodium benzoate, proprietary drinks, chocolate drinks, soup cubes, biscuits, chips and pro packed meals all contain sodium.
Things To Avoid
- Salt in cooking or on the table.
- Sea fish, salted meat, salted dry fish, liver etc.
- Salted butter and cheese.
- All foods to which salt or baking soda have been added.
- Pickles and chutneys.