Hypertension and Nutrition

Generally Hypertension and Nutrition, high blood pressure is a multifactorial disease and is defined as “primary” when it is not possible to identify a precise cause.

Only a small percentage (about 5%), which is defined “secondary”, instead depends on hereditary diseases and not, which may affect the heart, vessels, kidneys, adrenals, or the use of drugs such as amphetamines, contraceptives, painkillers, etc. …
The “primary” hypertension often has a genetic cause, in fact the presence of direct family members with hypertension can increase the risk of occurrence.
Obviously, with advancing age, the risk of this disease increases because the arterial vessels stiffen.


Then there are a whole range of incorrect lifestyles that lead to damage to arterial vessels and increased pressure:

  • cigarette smoking,
  • stress,
  • sedentariness,
  • overweight and obesity,
  • unhealthy eating habits such as excessive intake of calories, animal fats (meat, cheese, sausages, etc. …), sugars (especially in the form of drinks, sweets and refined flours), alcohol and salt.

In our daily diet we should introduce 4-5 grams of salt per day, instead it is estimated that in Italy and in western populations the consumption of salt almost doubles. When we think about salt we should not only consider the one we add to foods, but also the one already contained in some foods, for example 100 grams of ham can contain from 5 to 8 grams of salt.
On the other hand, there are dietary errors due to the lack of some important nutrients that can instead help fight hypertension and some factors at the base of its onset such as fiber, polyunsaturated fats of the omega 3 series, magnesium and potassium.

On age and genetics you cannot intervene, but on all other factors you can and…

Let’s see some indications to feel better if you are affected by this disease and to prevent if you are predisposed.

First of all it is necessary to control the caloric intake and reduce the intake of salt, up to eliminate the added salt. When we talk about salt we must also think about all salty foods (as previously mentioned for ham) that must be reduced or eliminated: cooking cubes, sauces, olives, pickles, cheeses, cold cuts, smoked foods, chips, bakery products such as crackers and other snacks, canned foods, prepared foods, etc…

Moreover, even water, which must be drunk in abundance, can be an important vehicle of salt and therefore it is necessary to choose a low sodium water, which promotes diuresis and the elimination of sodium in excess. In order to replace salt it is advisable to use spices and aromatic herbs, which also bring useful antioxidants for our body. In particular, garlic reduces blood pressure, has an antiplatelet and antithrombotic effect and lowers the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

In order to reduce the intake of calories and saturated fats, it is recommended to eat at least 3-4 times a week barbed fish, especially small fish and oily fish, it is recommended the consumption of legumes and unrefined cereals (oats, quinoa, rice, spelt, sorghum, etc …), fruit and oilseeds (but not roasted and salted), fresh fruit (but not too much! Otherwise you introduce too much sugar) and fresh vegetables.

Are recommended about 300-400 grams of fruit per day (divided into 2-3 meals) and at least 500 grams of vegetables per day (to be distributed in at least 2 meals).
As for meats, white ones should be preferred and red ones should be limited, eliminating instead all the preserved meats. In general it is always advisable to avoid “do it yourself” and to rely on a competent professional (doctor or biologist) in order to have a correct diet plan, which does not create nutritional deficiencies.

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