Even small rises in blood pressure, above the recommended levels, can increase your risk of more-serious conditions such as heart disease and stroke. As your blood pressure increases, your risks of other problems also rise. To avoid these risks you can make changes in your diet that will help lower your blood pressure.
Control Your Intake of Sodium
High amounts of sodium in your diet can contribute to higher blood pressure levels. The high sodium causes your body to retain more water. This increase in water retention increases the pressure on your arteries, increasing the amount of pressure your heart needs to pump your blood.
Your sodium intake should remain below 1,500 mg per day, and if your blood pressure is too high your doctor may recommend further reductions in your sodium intake. Limit your sodium intake by avoiding processed foods, frozen meals, high sodium soups and other canned goods and fast-foods. Do not add salt or high sodium condiments, such as soy sauce, to your foods. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is important to be aware that there are 2,300 mg of sodium in every teaspoon of salt. Use herbs and spices to add flavor to your foods.
Drink Alcohol in Moderation
Consuming more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men will contribute to higher blood pressure levels. Also, binge drinking, even one night a week, can cause spikes in your blood pressure, which can be unhealthy especially if you already have high blood pressure.
Keeping your alcohol intake at moderate levels, which means one drink a day if you are a women and two drinks a day if you are a man, can help you maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Fruits and vegetables should be a stable in your diet. Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables throughout each day. Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, that can help keep your blood pressure at healthy levels.
Whole grains are also an important part of a blood-pressure lowering diet. Get between six to eight servings of grains throughout the day and try to consume most of your grains in the form of whole grains. Whole grains are rich in nutrients and fiber, which can help you lower your blood pressure.
Eat to Lose Weight
Eating healthier overall can help lower your blood pressure levels, especially if the diet helps you lose excess weight. A healthier, lower-calorie diet can help stimulate weight loss. According to the Mayo Clinic, men who have a waist measurement that is over 40 inches and women who have a waist measurement over 35 inches are at increased risk for high blood pressure. Even small amounts of weight loss can lower your blood pressure.
Eat a diet that avoids high calorie foods such as fast-foods, processed foods, full-fat dairy products and high-fat meats such as red meat and processed meat.