Correct Hypertension with a High-fiber, Low-sodium Diet

Written by on July 24, 2012 in Health - No comments | Print this page


Correct Hypertension with a High-fiber, Low-sodium Diet

Blood pressure, unchecked, can easily become problematic. According to the American Heart Association, more than 50 million Americans have blood pressure that is too high (called hypertension). Because it is symptomless in its early stages, many individuals do not realize they have a potentially life-threatening disease. High blood pressure can damage the heart and blood vessels if left unattended. It can also lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and other serious ailments. A high-fiber, low-sodium diet will go a long way towards stabilizing blood pressure.

Causes of Hypertension

In some cases (about 10%) there is an underlying cause for the escalation of the blood pressure. Perhaps an artery has narrowed in the kidney, or maybe there is an adrenal gland disorder or a complication with pregnancy. Sometimes hypertension develops as a side effect of a particular drug. In most cases, however, there is no identifiable cause for hypertension. Essential hypertension, as this is referred to, accounts for 95% of all hypertension cases.

Blood pressure rises when the arterioles constrict, requiring the heart to beat more forcefully in order to pump blood through the narrowed arteries. High levels of adrenaline and other hormones can bring about this constriction of the arteries. Increased blood volume also occurs when the body retains excessive salt and fluids.

Blood pressure rises with age. It is considered a hereditary disease because it tends to run in families. Individuals with a family history of diabetes, obesity, and certain other disorders have an increase risk of developing the condition. Other contributions include smoking, excessive alcohol use and a sedentary lifestyle. Stress is also labeled as a cause.

Hypertension and Diet

Diet plays a key role in the prevention and treatment of hypertension. African-Americans have a genetic tendency to retain sodium. In these individuals, a restriction of salt beginning at an early age will help reduce the risk of developing hypertension. Labels on processed foods should be carefully checked as these foods tend to be high in sodium content. A high sodium level will alert to the fact that this particular food is to be avoided. Pickled foods should also be avoided if there is a problem with hypertension and herbs should be substituted for salt in cooking. Regular consumption of saturated fats is harmful to the body and should be avoided when dealing with high blood pressure. Cutting back on butter and margarine is beneficial as is shifting to low-fat cooking methods such as baking and broiling. Fried foods, the regular consumption of saturated fats and sugar-laden desserts are detrimental.

Heavy alcohol consumption should also be avoided when dealing with high blood pressure.

Are you in a battle with high blood pressure? What are some of the ways you keep it in check?

About the Author

Loraine R. Dégraff

Loraine is a passionate health and wellness writer and is particularly interested in working with the body through diet and nutrition. She currently lives in Queens, NY with her husband and 5 children and would love to talk "health" with you. View all posts with Health Tips.