Dealing with our daily stressors definitely tends to raise our blood pressure, from tackling traffic to running the kids around. Luckily these things only raise our blood pressure temporarily. However, there are people who suffer from chronically raised blood pressure, whether they are aware of it or not (best to get yourself checked out). Usually we start with changes in lifestyle to try and lower our blood pressure, but medication may be necessary. In this article we take a look at dietary patterns that can influence our blood pressure.
DIETARY PATTERNS THAT HAVE BEEN SHOWN TO LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
Though in some cases we may be able to pin-point exact foods and nutrients that can lower blood pressure, it is advisable to eat a combination of these for optimal effect. Thus, there are certain dietary patterns that have been shown to have beneficial effects on our blood pressure.
Vegetarian diets have been associated with low blood pressure. Many aspects of a vegetarian lifestyle may contribute to the lower blood pressure, such as increased potassium intake (from the consumption of fruits and vegetables), high fibre intake and the exclusion of meat.
The DASH dietary pattern1
A DASH diet is high in fruits and vegetables, and emphasizes low-fat dairy products; includes whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts; and is lower in fats, red meat, sweets and sugar-containing drinks. Due to this such a diet it is high in potassium, magnesium, calcium and fibre and is lower in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Rather than one nutrient being responsible, it is thought that many aspects the diet are what leads to the reduction in blood pressure1.
A vegetarian or DASH dietary pattern has been shown to lower blood pressure due to the nutrients that we consume when following these dietary patterns. For more information about vegetarian diets, please see the FUTURELIFE® article: ‘Evidence supporting a vegetarian diet for heart health’. For more information about the DASH diet, please see the FUTURELIFE® article: ‘A closer look at the DASH diet for heart health’.
Dietary Approaches to Prevent and Treat Hypertension: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Lawrence J. Appel, Michael W. Brands, Stephen R. Daniels, Njeri Karanja, Patricia J. Elmer and Frank M. Sacks. s.l. : Hypertension, 2006, Vol. 47.Text