It is proven, the DASH diet (for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), close to the Mediterranean diet, is the most effective for keeping normal blood pressure or lowering it if it is too high. It even promotes weight loss and reduction in LDL cholesterol levels, for the benefit of cardiovascular health.
The principles of the DASH diet
- Increase its potassium, magnesium, antioxidants and fiber intake, by eating more vegetables and fruits (8 to 10 servings per day), whole grain foods, oil seeds, and dried fruits and vegetables (4 to 5 servings per week).
- Reduce saturated fat, by favoring semi-skimmed or lean dairy products, fish, poultry and lean meats (maximum 2 servings per day), as well as vegetal oils (2 to 3 tablespoons / day),.
- Limit sweets as much as possible (drinks and sweet products): less than 5 servings per week.
- To limit oneself to 2.5 g of salt / day maximum.
The foods richest in potassium are parsley, dried beans, bananas, dark chocolate with more than 70% cocoa, lentils, spinach, avocados… A diet rich in potassium acts favorably on blood pressure. According to one study published in 2017, you should ingest at least 4.7 grams of potassium per day to lower blood pressure. Thus, three-quarters of a cup of black beans would represent 50% of the necessary daily intake.
Guidelines for monitoring your salt intake
Why does too much salt increase blood pressure?
Prof. Claire Mounier-Vehier, head of the vascular medicine and arterial hypertension service at the Lille CHRU, explains why excess salt is harmful to good health.
- Salt over-activates the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the autonomous activities of the organization. In reaction: the heart and the arteries contract more.
- It triggers the production of hormones by the adrenal glands which causes an increase in blood pressure.
- It promotes water retention in the kidney. Instead of being eliminated, this water goes back into the bloodstream, increasing blood volume and therefore blood pressure.
- It promotes weight gain especially abdominal, risk factor for hypertension. As abdominal obesity itself stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, a vicious cycle sets in.
What is a gram of salt?
There is an average of 1 g of salt in: 1 C. mustard 1 C. 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce 2 tbsp. level tablespoons of ketchup 3 black olives or 5 green olives 1 slice of raw ham 1 slice of smoked salmon or trout 2 slices of ham or chicken breast 3-4 surimi sticks 4 slices of dry sausage or chorizo 1 brioche or 1 pastry 1 small bowl of store-bought soup or vegetable juice 30-40 g of cheese 1 bowl of crisps or appetizer cookies (60 g) 1 / 6th store-bought pizza 80 g of salted bread, i.e. 1/3 of a baguette or 4 slices of cut bread 125 g canned tuna or sardines 150 to 200 g canned vegetables, drained
Source: Lille CHRU, cardiology service.
6 tips for eating in case of hypertension
These tips are given by Lisa Desrousseaux, dietician.
- Cook yourself as much as possible, focusing on raw products (meat, fish, fresh or frozen vegetables, etc.).
- Limit the use of cub brothse, which each provide between 1 g and 2 g of salt depending on the brand: “If they are essential in a recipe, add only a half instead of a whole. “
- Avoid combining salted products on the same day : “We have the right to indulge ourselves with a ½ pizza at noon, as long as it is taken into account at other meals. “
- Replace salt with spices, aromatic herbs, ginger, garlic, onions … “Don’t hesitate to mix things up until you find the ones you really like. “
- Decipher the labels : “If it is the sodium content that is indicated, it must be multiplied by 2.5 to obtain the salt value. “
- Prefer the still waters and favor carbonated waters low in salt (less than 50 mg of sodium per liter): Perrier, Salvetat, San Pellegrino.
Are you looking for dish ideas? Discover our section dedicated to anti-hypertension recipes.