By Emma Seline

The human body survives on essential elements such as nutrients and important gases such as oxygen. Tissues and organs need a constant supply of these essentials for development, nourishment, and proper functioning. Blood pressure becomes the force that manages the whole process as it ensures blood containing the mentioned elements together with other significant substances gets through the circulatory system to the required places in the body.

A proper blood pressure diet ensures that this constant circulation of nutrients, oxygen, white blood cells, and hormones is maintained. Maintaining blood pressure at optimal levels always helps achieve a healthy working body. However, conditions such as high blood pressure (hypertension) require special care to ensure the body remains healthy and functional. A survey by Heart Foundation found that more than 33% of Australian adults aged between 30 and 65 have high blood pressure (Government of Australia Department of Health). 

Healthy lifestyle choices such as a proper diet can stabilize the blood flow to maintain a healthy body and help those with blood pressure conditions such as hypertension and hypotension manage or even treat the condition. For example, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension – DASH (Heller, 2007).

A perfect diet will entirely depend on the type of blood pressure condition one has. The most common is high blood pressure (hypertension), which requires meals rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products to manage (Appel, 2003). Of these foods, those high in potassium and magnesium are highly recommended as they can reduce blood pressure by up to 11 mmHg. Such fruits include citrus fruits and berries. For vegetables such as Swiss chard, amaranth leaves, broccoli, carrots, spinach, celery, and tomatoes are necessary. Whole grains such as lentils, beans, flax, and chia seeds work to achieve the same results. 

Low blood pressure (hypotension) cases are rare but usual and occur when blood moves at a lower-than-normal pressure through blood vessels, reading lower than 90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for the top number (systolic) or 60 mm Hg for the bottom number (diastolic) (“Low blood pressure (hypotension) – Symptoms and causes”, 2022). It is associated with a decrease in blood volume. The recommended diet for such cases includes an increased intake of salty foods. Foods rich in vitamin B12, such as fish, eggs, and dairy products, are also recommended as they encourage more production of blood in the system.

A proper blood pressure diet is crucial when addressing healthy living for both the healthy and the sick. While the latter use this knowledge to sustain their already ailing bodies, the initial group of people uses the same to prevent some of the most common dietary diseases.

References:

  • Heller, M. (2007). The DASH diet action plan: Proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol without medication. Deerfield, IL: Amidon Press.
  • Appel, L. J. (2003). Lifestyle modification is a means to prevent and treat high blood pressure. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 14(suppl 2), S99-S102.
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension) – symptoms and causes. (2022). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20355465
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