Balanced diet

You are what you eat. A balanced diet will help to keep you healthy

Healthy eating

Dietary recommendations for prevention and treatment of hypertension include:1

  • Reduce salt intake
  • Limit alcohol consumption to no more than 30 ml of ethanol/day for men (e.g. 300 ml of wine), and no more than 15 ml ethanol/day for women
  • Consume a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Prefer low-fat dairy products
  • Minimise consumption of saturated and total fat

What about…

Vitamins and mineral supplements

Ask your doctor. If you choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, and low-fat dairy products, you usually get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

Dark chocolate

There is data to suggest that consumption of dark chocolate may contribute to reducing blood pressure. Some researchers think that the antioxidant-rich compounds found in cacao have a beneficial effect on blood vessels.2

Weight loss

If you have high blood pressure and you are also overweight, your doctor may recommend that you lose weight. If you need help with this, you can also work with other healthcare professionals, such as a registered dietician or a nurse, to get started on the right plan. Physical activity will help you lose weight. Losing weight will reduce the strain on your heart, and weight loss itself will often cause your blood pressure to drop.1 If you are prescribed a diet, follow it closely, including suggestions about reducing how much alcohol you drink. Alcoholic drinks are high in calories, so should be avoided if you are trying to lose weight.

References

1. Kaplan NM. Clinical Hypertension, 9ed. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins; 2006.
2. Vlachopoulos C, et al. Curr Hypertens Rep 2006;8:205–11.