What exactly is Blood Pressure? 

by Yasmin Nolasco

Your heart is your engine and arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease.                                                           

The CDC defines normal blood pressure as a systolic (top) number of less than 120 mmHg and a diastolic (bottom) number of less than 80 mmHg. People with systolic readings of 120 to 139 mmHg and diastolic readings of 80 to 89 mmHg would be at risk for high blood pressure or could be told they have prehypertension  

The causes of elevated blood pressure are various such as stress, and a diet high in salt, fat, and/or cholesterol. Chronic conditions such as kidney and hormone problems, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Family history, especially if your parents or other close relatives have high blood                                                                              

Besides lowering sodium consumption what else can be done? Most people are aware of the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Guidelines for Americans, research has shown a direct relationship between sodium intake and blood pressure, and decreasing sodium intake “can help improve blood pressure control and reduce risk of hypertension.” Most important is to follow a heart-healthy diet low in sodium while managing stress if this is a factor for you. Sodium intake should be reduced to 2,300 milligrams (2.3g= 1/2tsp) per day for individuals 14 years of age and older. Keep in mind that natural sea salt and pink Himalayan salt are healthier alternatives. 

Follow a heart-healthy diet, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan. A balanced DASH eating plan based on 1,600 to 2,600 calories per day would include: 

  • 7 to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables 
  • 6 to 11 servings of grains — such as whole-wheat bread, pasta, or pitas; oatmeal; brown rice 
  • 2 to 3 servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy products 
  • 6 or fewer servings per day of lean meat, poultry, and fish 
  • 2 to 3 servings per day of fats and oils — avoiding trans fat and lowering saturated fat intake 
  • 3 to 5 servings per week of nuts, seeds and legumes 
  • Limited amounts of sweets and added sugars — 5 or fewer servings per week. 

For more nutrition advice, you can book a consultation or call our office at 240-766-4552

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