High blood pressure and diet

Information

Making changes to your diet is a proven way to help control high blood pressure. These changes can also help you lose weight and lower your chance of heart disease and stroke.

Your health care provider can refer you to a dietitian who can help you create a healthy meal plan. Ask what your blood pressure target is. Your target will be based on your risk factors and other medical problems.

DASH DIET

The low-salt Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is proven to help lower blood pressure. Its effects on blood pressure are sometimes seen within a few weeks.

This diet is rich in important nutrients and fiber. It also includes foods that are higher in potassium, calcium, and magnesium and lower in sodium (salt) than the typical American diet.

The goals of the DASH diet are:

Other daily nutrient goals in the DASH diet include limiting carbohydrates to 55% of daily calories and dietary cholesterol to 150 mg. Try to get at least 30 grams (g) of daily fiber.

Check with your provider before you increase the potassium in your diet or use salt substitutes (which often contain potassium). People who have kidney problems or who take certain medicines must be careful about how much potassium they consume.

HEART HEALTHY DIET

Eat foods that are naturally low in fat. These include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Other tips include:


Review Date: 5/6/2019
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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