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How do I make a diet plan to help prevent high blood pressure?

You can change several dietary habits to help reduce your risk of high blood pressure. Eating a balanced diet is a proven strategy to lower your blood pressure.

A large research study, called the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) study, followed individuals on three different diets. One diet was a typical American diet: low in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products and high in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. A second was rich in just fruits and vegetables, and a third, the DASH diet, was a balanced diet that was lower in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sweets, and high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. The last diet was a typical American diet.

The individuals in the study who followed the DASH diet experienced a significant reduction in blood pressure compared with those who followed the other two diets. Because the sodium content of all three diets was the same, about 3,000 milligrams, which is the approximate amount that Americans consume daily, on average, the blood pressure lowering effect was attributed to some other substance, or a combination of nutrients working together.

For example, due to its abundance of fruits and vegetables, the DASH diet provides healthy doses of potassium and magnesium, and because of its numerous servings of dairy foods, it is also rich in calcium. Dietary potassium, magnesium, and calcium can all play a role in lowering blood pressure.
Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
Watch your sodium and salt intake. Keep processed fried, salty foods to a minimum. Keep track of your daily sodium grams. Try to stay below 2000 mg per day. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. The potassium and magnesium in fresh produce helps reduce your risk of high blood pressure. Eat out less often and cook more from scratch.
Amy Jamieson-Petonic
Nutrition & Dietetics

A registered dietitian, the food and nutrition expert, can help you make a diet plan that is helpful to high blood pressure. I would suggest finding an RD in your area at www.eatright.org and looking up how to get started with the DASH diet. The DASH diet has been shown to help lower blood pressure. Good luck!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.