High Blood Pressure Diet – What Is and Isn’t in Your Diet?
The healthy diet is critical for optimum health. Understanding what IS in your diet as well as what ISN’T in it can make controlling or eliminating high blood pressure much easier. For instance, did you know one tiny toxin that’s present in most processed foods actually causes high blood pressure? It’s true. But we’ll cover that later.
Sodium is essential to life and to good health. It maintains water balance, transmits nerve impulses, muscle contractions and maintains the electrolyte balance inside and outside cells.
Salt, a naturally occurring compound Blood balance formula and Blood balance advanced formula contains 40% sodium and 60% chlorine. Sodium is also added in food processing, such as sodium bicarbonate (leavening agent), sodium nitrate, sodium benzoate and monosodium glutamate.
A general consensus of the U.S. recommended daily allowance (RDA) for sodium is 2,400 mg. The Recommended Nutritional Intake (RNI) for the UK has an upper limit of 1,600 mg.
Salt sensitivity (SS) is a condition determined by measuring how blood pressure responds to a decrease in salt intake and during repletion/supplementation. Experts agree that excessive salt consumption can be harmful to those with SS and they should follow the advice of their healthcare provider regarding daily sodium intake.
Caffeine, a stimulant, can be found in coffee, tea, chocolate, many food products (especially soft drinks), some nuts, and certain prescription and over-the-counter medicines. It affects the body’s metabolism, stimulates the central nervous system, and is known to cause restlessness, anxiety, irritability, nervousness, headaches and abnormal heart rhythms.
Energy drinks usually contain high caffeine levels. A study of young adults drinking two energy drinks a day for one week resulted in elevated blood pressure readings, both systolic and diastolic. The systolic pressure increased an average of 10 mmHg and the heart rate increased by 7 beats per minute. Researchers recommended that individuals with high blood pressure or heart disease avoid energy drinks; they concluded that both blood pressure and the effectiveness of medication could be affected.
Recent studies have shown that even modest alcohol consumption causes an increase in blood pressure. They also found that, as alcohol consumption increased, there was an additional rise in blood pressure. Alcohol has approximately seven calories per gram, a twelve-ounce beer has about 150 calories. These “empty” calories contain no beneficial nutrients, but can contribute to weight gain. The calorie count climbs when alcohol is mixed in a cocktail containing fruit juices and carbonated beverages.
Calcium and magnesium
Studies have shown that people with a low intake of calcium and magnesium are more likely to have high blood pressure.
Calcium is required for healthy bones and teeth, muscle contraction, blood vessel expansion and contraction, nerve impulse transmission, secretion of hormones and stabilizing proteins and enzymes.
Recommended daily calcium intake in milligrams:
0-6 months: 210, 7-12 months: 270, 1-3 years: 500, 4-8: 800, 9-18: 1300, 19-50: 1000, 51+: 1200
Magnesium supports normal blood pressure and regulates blood sugar levels, metabolism and protein synthesis. It also maintains strong bones, muscle and nerve function and a steady heart rhythm, and supports a strong immune system.
Recommended daily magnesium intake in milligrams:
Female/years 1-3: 80, 4-8: 130, 9-13: 240, 14-18: 360, Pregnancy: 400, Lactation: 360, 19-30: 310, Pregnancy: 350, Lactation: 310, 31+: 320, Pregnancy: 360, Lactation: 320
Male/years 1-3: 80, 4-8: 130, 9-13: 240, 14-18: 410, 19-30: 400, 31+: 420
Potassium’s role in the body influences proper nerve function, muscle control and blood pressure. It also works with sodium to maintain water balance and is vital to growth protein efficiency. The potassium-to-sodium ratio should be approximately 2:1. The recommend daily potassium intake is 4,700 mg. Athletes involved in strenuous workouts may require more.
Too much potassium results in a condition known as hyperkalemia, causing blood sugar to fall. This creates problems for diabetics and hypoglycemics, and can lead to cardiac arrest and death. People with kidney problems or those taking certain medications may be at risk of having potassium buildup in their bodies. Potassium supplementation is not advisable unless recommended by your professional health care provider.
The healthy diet is crucial, especially when you’re experiencing high blood pressure. While understanding how the various foods and compounds interact with your body is the first step, realizing just what is in the processed foods you eat is also critical. Reading and understanding food labels will enable you to eliminate the extra calories and dangerous toxins from your diet.