Diet for the hypertensive

Exercise and weight loss have been for some time now, the most often chosen non-medicinal treatment for hypertension.

Studies are showing that a diet for the hypertensive person would prove much more beneficial to their recovery than total reliance on the traditional method.

More and more the recommended diet is a plant based one with emphasis on no cholesterol, low fat, and the correct use of high fiber foods.

Preventing hypertension – the better way to go – is also based on a similar diet and in the long run, is much cheaper.

Which would you prefer, having to regain your health or to maintain a healthy body?

What is hypertension

Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure occurs when the heart is forced to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. This occurs as a result of an increase in the pressure in the arteries.

It is usually diagnosed if your blood pressure reading is higher than 139/89 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury).

The higher number is call the systolic and the lower the diastolic. The systolic is the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The diastolic is the pressure when your heart takes that short rest between contractions.

The following are guidelines (Mayo Clinic) that will help you to know where your blood pressure is:

  • Normal – 120/80 and lower.
  • Elevated – 120 – 129/80 or lower.
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure (hypertension) – 130 – 139/80 – 89. If either or are elevated, you are also considered hypertensive.
  • Stage 2 – high blood pressure (hypertension) – 140+/90+.

The above does not hold for children, so that a qualified physician would determine the safe level for your child’s blood pressure upon examination.

There are no early obvious symptoms of hypertension. The only way to know is to have your blood pressure taken.

So, do you experience periods of dizziness, terrible headaches, anxiety, throbbing in the head, fatigue, chest pain, confusion, problems with your vision, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, pounding in your neck, chest or ears or even blood in your urine?

All these are symptoms of high blood pressure and are an indication that you need to get to your physician immediately. You may be already hypertensive.

Even if afterward it is proven that you are not hypertensive, the visit to the doctor should give you an indication of what is causing the symptoms that you are experiencing.

The thing to be concerned about though, is that by the time these symptoms show up, you are already in the danger zone. This is why hypertension is sometimes referred to as the ‘silent killer’.

Though there is no one identified cause of hypertension, these factors have been noted in those who experience it:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Too much salt in the diet
  • Low consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • High consumption of coffee or other caffeine based drinks
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Stressed
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Old age
  • Lack of sleep

The presence of any of these factors in your life increases your risk of hypertension.

Traditional therapy for the hypertensive

Medication is the go-to response to anyone diagnosed with hypertension. It is also believed that there is no cure for the problem and that the individual would be on medication for life in order to keep the blood pressure at the required level.

Various types are used depending on that which the doctor believes will work best for the patient. A level of improvement may be experienced by the person as a result.

These prescriptions fall under one of the following:

  • Beta-blockers
  • Diuretics
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers

Each is prescribed based on what they are expected to do for you.

Beta blockers are designed to decrease how adrenaline affect the cardiovascular system. It slows the heart rate and reduces stress on the heart and arteries.

Diuretics are used to increase the amount of fluid passed in the urine. The thought behind it is that as a result, the volume of fluid circulating in the blood is reduced, thus reducing the blood pressure.

ACE (Angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors help in widening the arteries thus reducing the blood pressure in them.

Calcium channel blockers also dilates the arteries in addition to reducing the force with which the heart contracts.

Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) also work to reduce blood pressure by dilating the arteries.

While all these may appear to reduce blood pressure, the disturbing reality is that all are accompanied by serious side effects.

Some of these are: shortness of breath, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, depression, allergic reactions, dizziness, high levels of potassium, swelling, low blood pressure, nausea, loss of appetite, unwanted hair growth, constipation, headaches, cough, lowered sense of taste and at times, even a worsening of hypertensive symptoms.

Now what do you think about that? Would you prefer something that does not have all these side effects and at the same time leaves you knowing that you are improving your body?

If hypertension is not treated, it may result in:

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Loss of vision
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Kidney Disease
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Dementia

All of the above can prove fatal to you or your loved ones.

To be fair, it must be stated that in addition to the medicinal treatment, most doctors encourage their patients to make some type of lifestyle change.

This change would include the need to:

  • Stop smoking if you do
  • Seek to lose weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Make changes in your diet by increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables consumed
  • Exercise regularly and for at least 30 minutes per day, most days of the week
  • Lower the amount of salt used in the diet
  • Lower or completely eliminate alcohol use

Making these changes will certainly contribute to normalizing your blood pressure. Even then, there is still the issue of the medication that you are using and their accompanying side effects.

If you continue on these medicines for the rest of your life, as it is believed that you would have to, then you would have replaced one issue with a number of others.

Is there a permanent solution?

Studies are suggesting that there is, and it’s a simple but overlooked one.

Your diet.

Diet and hypertension

By now you know that your body is composed of what you eat and or drink. As some people say; “you are what you eat”.

God designed the living organism to be replenished by nutrients found in other living organisms – the plants and vegetables that He provided as food.

He gave us the greatest food processor that there is and will ever be – the digestive tract. When properly used and fed with the prescribed sources of nutrients, the body will continuously rebuild and maintain itself. The process is quite complex with a number of interdependent factors. If one is off, it affects all the others.

In the case of hypertension, if your diet is poor, your body does not receive that which is needed to help it maintain the best blood pressure suitable to you.

A healthy diet, containing the foods that helps to build and maintain your arteries while keeping your blood pressure at the best operating level is a must.

So what foods do this for you?

Here is a list:

  • Fruits
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Squash
  • Celery
  • Magnesium rich foods
  • Calcium rich foods
  • Grapefruit
  • Foods containing potassium
  • Garlic
  • Guava
  • Foods with abundant fiber
  • Pear
  • Legumes
  • Diuretic foods – cucumber, watermelon, grapes etc.

At the same time, there are things (foods) that you may put in that would tend to increase your blood pressure instead of lowering or bringing it to a good level.

Here are some of them:

  • Eggs
  • Alcoholic drinks/beverages
  • Foods high in saturated fats
  • Coffee – many people use coffee and think that they cannot exist without it
  • Salt – our foods must have it we say
  • Ham
  • Sodium
  • Sausages
  • Meat
  • High levels of protein
  • Stimulating beverages
  • Pepper
  • Matured cheese
  • Cigarette smoke and all the harmful components that come with it

Most items on the above list are high in salt and animal based. There are increasing volumes of studies that show that animal based foods bring more sickness to you than it does in building good blood, muscles and tissues.

Coffee, though plant based and widely used, is a stimulant that does real harm to your body. Some of its effects are: nausea and vomiting, insomnia, stomach upset and nervousness, to name a few.

So to is cigarettes. I’ll just name one disease caused by cigarettes: cancer.

You would be doing yourself a huge favor by removing these food items from your diet list.

If you are presently hypertensive, here is a broth that I came across in the book Healthy Foods written by George D. Pamplona-Roger, MD. It is called Depurant vegetable broth and I quote as written:

It is made by boiling various alkalizing and diuretic vegetables, primarily onions and celery, in abundant water. A small amount of olive oil may be added.

This broth is very healthful and constitutes one of the fundamental ingredients in a cleansing diet. One-half to one liter may be taken a day as a beverage in place of water. Some of its benefits are:

  • Depurant or purifying action. It alkalizes the blood and urine, which improves the elimination of waste products, particularly uric acid.

  • Diuretic: improves kidney function and increases urine output.
  • Mineralizer: it supplies a significant amount of minerals and trace elements, particularly potassium. magnesium, and iron. Potassium prevents arterial hypertension.

Your role in treatment/prevention

If you are hypertensive, the type of treatment you receive is ultimately up to you.

Your recovery is also up to you. Here I would suggest that you actively participate in your treatment in consultation with your doctor.

The first step would be to find out all you can about hypertension and how it is treated. Since you have read this far, it says that you are doing just that.

However, the information given here is by no means exhaustive. At the same time, you will find that there are views that differ drastically from those that I have presented here. They may be what you are looking for. If you like what you have learned here, then there are others who are of a similar view and willing to supply you with added information.

It behooves you to inform yourself. Find out all that you can and then make an informed decision based on the information. Following the popular and easy path may seem right but in the long run may prove detrimental to your well-being.

Consider all that you have learned here and elsewhere on the topic, then question yourself.

It is up to you to decide if you will be on medication for life or if you will allow your diet and other lifestyle changes to rescue you from medicinal dependence.

This is in no way advocating that you abandon your doctor. It’s saying, don’t rely totally on anyone for the maintenance of your health. Be informed, choose. Have a say in how you go about treating your body if you discover that you are hypertensive.

You and your doctor, decide together.

If you are not hypertensive and your goal is to remain that way, then you too need to choose the course you would take in order to ensure that you do.

That choice should also be made based on having looked at as much of the available data you can find and then making a decision.

Maybe you are familiar with the saying “prevention is better than cure”. It’s a true saying and one that many have abandoned to their detriment and that of others.

Preventing hypertension requires that you follow the laws of health, all of them. That includes eating for health and not for taste since the taste that you have come to enjoy, is harmful to your body.

It would mean then, a change in taste buds which must occur if you are to permanently ensure that you remain hypertensive free.

I feel compelled to share this bit of information with you that I found in the Healthy Eating magazine. Consider this comparison between a pear and a piece of meat.

“A pear has the following chemical composition, per 100 grams:

  • Protein – 0.6g
  • Carbohydrates – 14.1g
  • Fat – 0.5g
  • Fiber – 2.7g
  • Ash – 0.4g
  • iron – 3.5g
  • Copper – 0.5g
  • Acid – 4.2g
  • Calories – 63

Besides this, it also contains mineral salts and vitamins.

When you eat a pear, all of these chemical compounds enter your system reduced to molecules, and reach all of the microscopic cells of your organs. A pear is healthy food, tastes good, and is easily digested because of it’s easily assimilated components.

Meat contains 20 percent protein and abundant fat that produces dangerous cholesterol in the body; it is rich in iron, moderately rich in phosphorus, and low in calcium. The meats that are used for food are generally part of the animal’s muscle, with fat and other tissues such as nerves, blood vessels, and diverse toxic substances.

When the animal is being slaughtered, all the vital processes that were occurring are abruptly stopped, and products such as urea, uric acid, creatinine, creatine, phenolic acid, adrenaline, hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, and the germs that cause disease or decay stay in the tissues.

People who eat meat unknowingly swallow all the components mentioned above, and these components become part of their system, without them ever suspecting what they are eating.”

After reading the above, which would you choose for a strong healthy body, plant based foods or animal based food?

Lower the incidence

Taste and what others are eating are usually the marker for what we eat, unless we make a deliberate choice to be different.

Popular eating choices today, once followed, may lead to many and varied health complications, including hypertension.

The common course followed in the treatment of the problem, it may be seen, can contribute to later making the problem worse and even adding other health issues that you did not have before.

It is therefore important that you participate actively in maintaining your health and getting the right treatment if illness occurs.

If you are hypertensive, then in addition to what is usually prescribed, a close look at your diet and making the necessary changes if need be, could prove to be the solution to your problem.

Removing “foods” that contribute to high blood pressure is critical. Adding foods that keeps the blood pressure level stable while repairing the arteries is also crucial.

No one wants to be unhealthy but being healthy is an individual choice. You control your well-being.

 

In her famous book on health, inspired author, Mrs E.G. White states:

“Those foods should be chosen that best supply the elements needed for building up the body. In this choice, appetite is not a safe guide. Through wrong habits of eating, the appetite has become perverted. Often it demands food that impairs health and causes weakness instead of strength. We cannot safely be guided by the customs of society. The disease and suffering that everywhere prevail are largely due to popular errors in regard to diet.

In order to know what are the best foods, we must study God’s original plan for man’s diet. He who created man and who understands his needs appointed Adam his food.

‘Behold,’ He said, ‘I have given you every herb yielding seed,…and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.’ Genesis 1:29. A.R.V. Upon leaving Eden to gain his livelihood by tilling the earth under the curse of sin, man received permission to eat also ‘the herb of the field.’ Genesis 3:18.

Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator”. (The Ministry of Healing, pp.295, 296).

Which do you choose, medication for the rest of your life or a diet that may help you avoid them and all their attendant side effects?