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What is the most crucial eating habit for high blood pressure?

Getting potassium-rich foods in your diet is the most crucial eating habit for high blood pressure. How to get more potassium-rich foods in your diet?

1. What is High blood pressure?

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.

Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. A blood pressure reading is given in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). It has two numbers.

Top number (systolic pressure). The first, or upper, number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.

Bottom number (diastolic pressure). The second, or lower, number measures the pressure in your arteries between beats.

You can have high blood pressure for years without any symptoms. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it.


Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels.

A few people with high blood pressure may have headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleeds, but these signs and symptoms aren’t specific and usually don’t occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage.

When to see a doctor

You’ll likely have your blood pressure taken as part of a routine doctor’s appointment.

Ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading at least every two years starting at age 18. If you’re age 40 or older, or you’re 18 to 39 with a high risk of high blood pressure, ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading every year.

Blood pressure generally should be checked in both arms to determine if there’s a difference. It’s important to use an appropriate-sized arm cuff.

Your doctor will likely recommend more-frequent readings if you’ve already been diagnosed with high blood pressure or have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Children age 3 and older will usually have blood pressure measured as a part of their yearly checkups.

If you don’t regularly see your doctor, you may be able to get a free blood pressure screening at a health resource fair or other locations in your community. You can also find machines in some stores that will measure your blood pressure for free.

Public blood pressure machines, such as those found in pharmacies, may provide helpful information about your blood pressure, but they may have some limitations. The accuracy of these machines depends on several factors, such as a correct cuff size and proper use of the machines. Ask your doctor for advice on using public blood pressure machines.

What is the most crucial eating habit for high blood pressure?

2. The most crucial eating habit for high blood pressure

When it comes to preventing or lowering your blood pressure your first step should be eating a healthy diet that consists primarily of plant-based foods to up the potassium in your meals and snacks.

a. Getting potassium-rich foods in your diet is the most crucial eating habit for high blood pressure

Potassium is the mineral that can help neutralize sodium in your diet and acts in myriad other ways to moderate blood pressure. One of the main reasons why hypertension rates are so high in the U.S. is that we have a high intake of sodium and a low intake of potassium. The ratio between sodium and potassium is thought to be critical to help control your pressure.

A plant-rich diet that packs in a lot of potassium has the added benefit of aiding your blood pressure by helping you slim down, which is another impactful way to lower blood pressure.

According to the Mayo Clinic, your blood pressure might go down by about 1 mm Hg with each kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight lost.

b. How to get more potassium-rich foods in your diet?

To plus up potassium in your meals and snacks, a proven way to meet the recommended intake for potassium each day is to follow the number of servings of produce, grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy products that are part of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet provides three times more potassium than the average American diet.

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association reported that following the DASH diet is the most effective nonpharmaceutical approach to reduce blood pressure. Following the DASH diet resulted in about a 7 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure and a 3.5 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure.

Here are the main food groups and number of servings recommended in the DASH diet to help up the potassium in your diet.

Vegetables: 4 to 5 servings a day. One serving is 1 cup raw leafy green vegetable, 1/2 cup cut-up raw or cooked vegetables, or 1/2 cup vegetable juice.

Fruits: 4 to 5 servings a day. One serving is one medium fruit, 1/2 cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit, or 1/2 cup fruit juice.

Grains: 6 to 8 servings a day. One serving is one slice of bread, an ounce of dry cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta.

Fat-free or low-fat dairy products: 2 to 3 servings a day. One serving is 1 cup milk or yogurt, or 1 1/2 ounces cheese.

Nuts, seeds, and legumes: 4 to 5 servings a week. One serving is 1/3 cup nuts, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 2 tablespoons seeds, or 1/2 cup cooked legumes (dried beans or peas).

c. How much potassium is enough?

The National Institutes of Health recommend that women should get 2,600 milligrams and men should get 3,400 milligrams of potassium every day. Most of us fall short of this daily intake goal and it is considered a nutrient of public health concern. Recent national data show that men get on average about 3,000 mg per day while women are getting around 2,300 milligrams per day.

Upping the amount of potassium in a heart-healthy diet is one of the best ways to control your blood pressure. A simple Google search of DASH diet menus will provide ample inspiration to get you started.

3. What problems does high blood pressure cause?

High blood pressure can damage your health in many ways. It can seriously hurt important organs like your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.

The good news is that, in most cases, you can manage your blood pressure to lower your risk for serious health problems.

Heart Attack and Heart Disease

High blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease. In addition, decreased blood flow to the heart can cause:

Chest pain, also called angina.

Heart attack, which happens when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle begins to die without enough oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.

Heart failure, a condition that means your heart can’t pump enough blood and oxygen to your other organs.

Stroke and Brain Problems

High blood pressure can cause the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain to burst or be blocked, causing a stroke. Brain cells die during a stroke because they do not get enough oxygen. Stroke can cause serious disabilities in speech, movement, and other basic activities. A stroke can also kill you.

Having high blood pressure, especially in midlife, is linked to having poorer cognitive function and dementia later in life.

Kidney Disease

Adults with diabetes, high blood pressure, or both have a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease than those without these conditions.

Source: Cdc/Eatthis/mayoclinic!

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