Hypertension is a blood pressure reading of 140/90 or greater. It is a measure of systolic and diastolic heart pressures of the force of blood against the walls of arteries. The systolic pressure is the top reading that is the pressure as the heart beats, and the diastolic pressure is the bottom reading that is the pressure as the heart relaxes between beats. Accordingly, the American Heart Association states that it is necessary to maintain a blood pressure regularly below 140/90. One safe and non-invasive method of positively affecting blood pressure is through proper nutrition specific for heart and blood pressure health.
A healthy diet needs to include food varieties from protein, fat and carbohydrate types. Nutritionally each food type provides the body with necessary nourishment, but should not be equally proportioned calorically. The recommendation by the Mayo Clinic is 10 to 35 percent proteins, 20 to 35 percent fats and 45 to 65 percent carbohydrates at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The major concern with protein consumption for a person with hypertension is fat content. Many of the proteins derived from animal sources are rich in fat and or saturated fat. These two variables of protein are significant risk factors for high blood pressure if consumed on a regular basis. Thus, dietary protein for hypertension must be low in fat and only contain unsaturated, polyunsaturated or omega-3 fats. Foods such as cold-water fish, tofu, soybeans, skinless white meat chicken and nuts are protein types that can be a part of a hypertensive person's diet, according to The Harvard School of Public Health.
Despite the negative health effects of too much fat consumption, some ingestion is necessary for proper body functioning. Monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3 fats help to enhance cellular processes and aid in the regulation of hormonal balance which are risk factors for high blood pressure when disrupted. Types of food containing these fats are cold-water fish, egg whites, nuts, green leafy vegetables, avocados, low-fat dairy, flaxseed oil, vegetable oil and olive oil.
Carbohydrates can be separated into two major different groups, simple versus complex. Complex carbohydrates are typically low on the glycemic index which means they are slower to digest and help the body regulate blood sugar and insulin levels that help to keep a normal healthy blood pressure. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends low glycemic complex carbs such as kamut, whole wheat bulgur, rolled oats, amaranth, wild rice, whole cornmeal and whole rye.
Salt is a substance found in a wide variety of food types and is something that hypertensive people need to always be aware of in terms of daily ingestion. The recommended daily salt consumption is between 1,500 and 2,300 mg per day, according to The Harvard School of Public Health. Consumption in excess of this range on a regular daily basis is a major risk factor for hypertension and can also restrict the effectiveness of anti-hypertensive medications as well.