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Hypertension and Heart-Healthy Diet

Read more about Heart-Healthy Diet.

Overview

A diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, while rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, will help lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and body weight—all of which leads to a healthier heart. This is what is traditionally known as the heart-healthy diet.

Because of the link between diabetes and heart disease, some experts consider a low-glycemic diet or low-carbohydrate diet to be the most heart-healthy option. To find what works best for you, talk with your doctor, investigate your options, and experiment.

Effect of Heart-Healthy Diet on Hypertension

The idea behind a heart-healthy diet is that it supports overall health while also helping control certain risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

How to Use Heart-Healthy Diet

For more information on heart-healthy diets, and lots of tips and how-to's, see the heart-healthy diet article.

Types of Professionals That Would Be Involved with This Treatment

It can be challenging to alter your diet, especially if you are trying to make big changes. Consider working with a nutritionist or dietitian to create a customized eating plan that is most likely to fit you and your life. Your doctor or naturopath may also have resources on heart-healthy eating.

Side Effects and Warnings

Modifying your diet to make it more healthful should have few, if any, side effects. If you have a serious health condition, consult with your physician or another trusted health provider before you make any drastic changes.

For many years, the American Heart Association and other major institutions have recommended cutting down on saturated fat and increasing carbohydrates. However, growing evidence suggests that it is preferable to keep carbohydrate levels relatively low while replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated fats such as olive oil. For more information, see the low-carbohydrate diet article.

References

American Dietetic Association. Nutrition Care Manual. American Dietetic Association website. Available at: http://nutritioncaremanual.org . Accessed December 8, 2009.

American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org . Accessed January 12, 2006.

Shield J, Mullen MC. Patient education materials. Supplement to the Manual of Clinical Dietetics . 3rd ed. Chicago, IL: American Dietetic Association; 2001.

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