If you suffer from hypertension, you’re not alone — hypertension is a common condition that affects millions of Americans each year. Because diet can have a major effect on hypertension, anyone diagnosed with hypertension should keep a close eye on their food and beverage consumption to minimize the risk of more serious diseases.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can occur for a variety of reasons. High blood pressure occurs when your blood puts too much pressure on your arteries, which can lead to artery damage and heart disease in the long term.
Common causes of hypertension include kidney disease, thyroid disorders, overuse of stimulating substances like tobacco or amphetamines, or sleep apnea. Most commonly, though, hypertension is an age-related condition that can develop naturally as we get older.
Hypertension diet: the do’s and don’ts
While many of us are self-quarantining due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, it’s important not to lose track of how your dietary habits can affect your overall health. This is especially true if you have hypertension, or if you have a disease that can lead to hypertension.
Because your diet can drastically affect your blood pressure, an important part of managing hypertension is making the right food choices. In case you’re unsure about what foods might affect your blood pressure, let’s straighten out some of the best — and worst — dietary choices for people with high blood pressure.
Here are some basic do’s and don’ts of eating with hypertension.
- Eat salty foods.
A major factor in hypertension is sodium, which is the main component of table salt. High sodium levels put extra strain on your kidneys, which can increase your blood pressure throughout your entire circulatory system. To minimize your intake of sodium, avoid salty foods like potato chips, french fries, fast food, and canned foods. And, of course, don’t add table salt to your meals.
- Drink lots of alcohol.
Heavy alcohol consumption can raise your blood pressure and make your hypertension worse. Another common result of chronic alcohol consumption is kidney disease, which can also drastically increase your blood pressure.
- Increase your potassium intake.
Potassium is a natural way to decrease the impact of sodium on your blood pressure. This doesn’t mean you can eat potassium combined with sodium — the best hypertension management plans have almost no sodium at all. Fill your diet with potassium-rich foods like bananas, green leafy vegetables, avocados, and unsalted beans. You can find most of these potassium-rich foods at your local supermarket.
- Consume healthy dairy products.
Low-fat, high-calcium dairy products like skim milk and sugar-free yogurt can help to decrease your blood pressure and relieve your arteries.
Hypertension and kidney disease
Your kidneys are a major control for your body’s blood pressure, so it’s no surprise that people with kidney disease usually experience hypertension. At Associates in Nephrology, we offer high-quality hypertension treatments, as well as treatment options for kidney disease, renal failure, and dialysis. If you need to get your blood pressure under control, schedule an appointment at one of our locations today.