A healthy diet is a cornerstone in the
management of high blood pressure. Two types
of diet have received the attention of scientists:
(a) the Mediterranean diet, and (b) DASH diet.
The inhabitants of the Mediterranean
region eat a characteristic diet which is thought
to be responsible to the low prevalence of heart
disease. They are fond of fresh fruits, root and
green vegetables, together with whole grain
cereals such as rice and bread. They prefer lean
meat and low fat dietary products. They cook
their food with olive oil or canola oil. They have
a preference for nuts such as walnuts, almonds,
Since some of these items are expensive, an
average Indian household will find it difficult to
follow this dietary pattern on a long term basis.
This is the DASH diet. (D= Dietary, A=
Approach, (to), S= Sodium, H= Hypothesis).
The proponents of this type of diet encourage
people to eat fruits, vegetables, low fat milk and
its derivatives, whole grains, lean meat such as
poultry and fish, and nuts. They should avoid
eating red meat, sweets, and butter.
Please go through the website of the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad for detailed information. Download the information and show it to your doctor to find out which of these items are suitable for you.
While it is important for the patients to avoid taking excessive common salt, it is not wise to advise total avoidance of salt.
They should have their food cooked with the normal amount of salt. It is important to avoid taking extra amounts of salt while eating. Food items such as salted nuts, salted biscuits, namkeen, and pickles that contain large quantities of salt should be shunned.
People who have associated diseases such as heart failure and renal disease may require considerably less salt. They should consult their doctors regarding their salt requirements.
Hypertensive patients should avoid excessive weight gain. Overweight subjects should restrict the total carbohydrate and calorie consumption.
They should take cereals that have a high content of indigestible material (= fiber) such as atta, and not refined cereals such as maida. Sweetening agents such as sugar, honey, and jiggery (= gur) have got to be avoided as far as possible.
Many medical scientists advocate the use of smaller amounts of carbohydrates such as rice and bread, and slightly higher amounts of protein and mono-unsaturated fats to lower the blood pressure.
Please consult your healthcare giver regarding the exact amount of each of these components of food that you should take daily.
People who take large amounts of alcohol tend to have higher blood pressure. Alcohol is habit-forming, and quite a few of the subjects run into social and health related problems.
For people who do not take alcohol, we do not recommend that they start drinking. For those who are drinking, we strongly advise caution and moderation.
Obesity predisposes to high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary heart disease, sleep apnea, and many other health related problems.
It is important for obese patients to cut down their body weight with appropriate dietary measures and physical exercise. This usually brings down the blood pressure to some extent, so that the subject may require fewer tablets to lower the blood pressure. Weight reduction has salutary effects in controlling blood sugar.
Weight control has long term benefits.
Regular physical exercise lowers blood pressure and blood sugar. It also reduces body weight.
Physically fit adults should involve in aerobic physical exercise for three to four times every week, and each session should last for about forty minutes. People who suffer from medical disabilities such as heart disease should consult their doctors regarding the amount of exercise that is suitable for them.
All tobacco products are harmful, no matter whether one is taking bidis, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, dokta, zarda, khaini, or snuff. Tobacco causes cancer, heart disease, brain stroke, respiratory disease, and so on. There can be no valid excuse for taking tobacco. Tobacco products are harmful even if the subject claims not to inhale the cigarette smoke, or spits out immediately after chewing khaini, dokta, or zarda. Even passively inhaled tobacco smoke is harmful. So, when someone smokes while sitting next to you, please ask them to move away. Alternatively, you should move far away from them.
If the subject requires tobacco before going to the wash room, they should quit the tobacco and take a fecal softener instead.
There can be no logic in giving up tobacco products gradually. People who plan to give up tobacco gradually will continue to take them for many months and years, and never stop completely. This is just an excuse to continue to take tobacco.
Our target is 130/80 mmHg
The choice of medicines for reducing the blood pressure of patients depends on their medical background. There is no medicine which will suit the requirements of all the subjects.
The information given in this article is for the general knowledge of the members of the public. This is not intended to be a guideline for treatment by the patients or their doctors. No responsibility will be taken for acts of commission or omission caused by treatment using the information provided here.