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Hypertension: The Value of Good Nutrition 


Mild hypertension can be greatly improved using a nutritional 

approach. Severe hypertension can also be helped through an altered diet and an additional benefit is an overall improvement in well-being. 

There are many heart healthy diets all with the same basic rules. Eat unrefined, fresh, unprocessed foods such as fruits and vegetables, onions, garlic, soy, olive oil, beans, nuts, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, halibut or sardines. 

Reduction of sodium is an important component in any diet aimed at lowering blood pressure. Studies are showing that a reduction in sodium works better if you increase potassium intake. Avoiding processed foods is of the utmost importance when trying to limit sodium intake. Become very comfortable reading labels as canned and pre-made food tends to have a higher salt content. There are wonderful salt replacements on the shelves in the grocery store to help flavor healthy dishes so you won’t miss the salt. 

Keeping your body well hydrated is also vital as water helps our entire system work more efficiently. You should be drinking fifty percent of your body weight in ounces daily. For example if you weigh 180 pounds, you should drink 90 ounces of water per day. 

In addition to natural foods, supplements should be considered to ensure you are receiving all the necessary nutrients each day. Calcium supplements of at least 800-1500 mg daily as well as 1000 mg of vitamin C daily are both recommended. A favorite recommendation of nutritionists everywhere is flaxseed meal. It may seem daunting to add the necessary 2-4 tablespoons daily at first but before you know it your oatmeal won’t be the same without it. If you are dislike taking flaxseed meal you can substitute flaxseed oil, but the meal is preferred. 

As with any dietary change, the best results will be achieved when you partner with your medical and natural health professionals to maximize your efforts. Spend time on the Internet and in the bookstore and you will find lots of healthy food ideas and many ways to incorporate all these requirements into a lifestyle you will enjoy. 

As we all know, dieting is never as efficient alone as when exercise is included. When you are talking about hypertension, it is especially true. Your heart is a muscle and even if you are feeding it the right food it still needs 30 minutes of activity at least three times a week for maximum benefit. It is vitally important for your doctor to review your diet and exercise regimen to ensure that you are getting the appropriate nutrition and exercise. If you have mild to moderate hypertension, incorporating these lifestyle changes could mean reducing a medication dose or eliminating it altogether. Eating a heart healthy diet can be a fun and delicious adventure. If you have children, teaching them this lifestyle now could possibly save their hearts a lot of extra work and show them that exercise and nutrition can both beneficial and exciting.


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Greg Cryns
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