Foods to treat hypertension

Foods to treat hypertension

Food is recognized as one of the most effective ways of preventing and treating high blood pressure. This is called DASH, Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet encourages the consumption of foods that are low in sodium, but rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium, which one can get from vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy foods, and whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts. DASH diet also encourages the use of heart-friendly cooking oil, to help reduce blood cholesterol level, and culinary practices that reduce the overall sodium content of the diet, for example the use of salt substitutes.

  1. Salt Substitutes
  2. Fruits and vegetables
  3. Anti-hypertension beverages
    1. Low-fat dairy beverages
    2. Wine
    3. Fruit drinks
  4. Heart-friendly Cooking Oil

Salt Substitutes

Relevant Information

Salt substitutes taste like table salt, but contain less sodium and therefore do not worsen hypertension as much as table salt. They should however be taken in minimal quantity, because excessive intake can result in excess potassium in the body (hyperkalemia), especially when diuretic drugs and some anti-hypertensive drugs such as ARBs are also taken.  

There are many brands of salt substitutes in the market; most of them contain potassium chlorine that has a metallic taste, while others contain potassium lactate or seaweed.

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Brand Name: Morton’s Salt Substitute

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Additional information: A quarter of a table spoon (1.2g)  of the salt contains no sodium chloride like the normal but 610mg of potassium, or 17% of the recommended daily dose of potassium. The salt should therefore be sparingly used.

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Brand Name: Also Salt Sodium Free Salt Substitute

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Additional information: It contains only potassium chlorine

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Brand Name: No Salt Sodium Free salt

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Brand Name: Now Potassium Chloride powder

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Brand Name: Sea salt Food Salt substitute

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Fruits and vegetables

Relevant Information

Fruits and vegetables are the pillars of the DASH diet, because they are very rich in potassium and magnesium, and low in sodium. They are the easiest way to ensure that the recommended amounts of potassium and magnesium are consumed. They should therefore be made a part of every meal that is eaten to prevent or treat hypertension.

The daily consumption of fruits and vegetables is difficult to accomplish, because fruits are very scarce and expensive, when they are out of season. The good news is that the fruits and vegetables need not be eaten fresh to be effective, the juiced and dried forms are equally effective, and should be consumed when the fruit or vegetable is out of season.

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Brand Name: Dole Pineapple Chunks

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Brand Name: Fresh ‘N Easy Fluted Pumpkin Leaf (Ugu)

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Brand Name: Nature’s Best Ugu (pumpkin) leaf

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Brand Name: Ukazi Leaves

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Brand Name: Ghana Fresh Garden Egg

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Additional information: Fresh garden

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Brand Name: African king Garden Eggs

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Brand Name: Organic mini Cucumber

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Brand Name: Mrs Elswood – Sweet Cucumber

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Brand Name: Earthbound Farms Organic Bagged

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Brand Name: Dole Baby Spinach Mix

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Anti-hypertension beverages

Low-fat dairy beverages

Dairy products include milk, yogurt, ice cream and cheese. They are highly recommended in the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure, because they contain lots of calcium, which has a blood pressure lowering effect. Dairy products are also high in saturated fats, and should therefore be consumed with some caution, to avoid raising the blood cholesterol level to dangerous levels. The best option is the consumption of low-fat dairy products that provide the desired amounts of calcium, but contain significantly less saturated fat that won’t raise the blood cholesterol level.

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Brand Name: Dano Skimmed Milk Powder

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Brand Name: Blue Boat Fresh Yo Drinking Yoghurt Plain Sweet 500ml

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Brand Name: Nido – Nestle Low Fat Fortified Semi-Skimmed Milk Powder

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Wine

Relevant Information

There is a rise in blood pressure whenever alcohol is taken, enough to raise the blood pressure to levels that might be dangerous for hypertensive patients. The regular intake of small quantities of alcohol has however been shown to positively affect the blood cholesterol level enough to reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke, two of the most common ways hypertension kills the patient. The taking of alcohol by a patient with hypertension thus has both negative and positive effects, which seem to be more positive when the alcohol is taken in moderation, for instance as part of a meal.

Wine, especially low-alcoholic palm wine has been found to be highly beneficial to hypertensive patients, because they contain significantly more potassium than sodium, just as fruit smoothies, and thus have the ability to directly reduce blood pressure. This offsets the increase in blood pressure produced by the alcohol content of the wine.

Brands

Brand Name: Orashi Palm wine

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Additional information: Orashi Palm wine is a pasteurized palm wine, tapped from the raffia palm. There is also a variety of it that is tapped from the oil palm tree. Orashi palm wine contains eight times more potassium than sodium. This means it has a blood pressure lowering effect, and therefore good for patients with hypertension.

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Fruit drinks

Relevant Information

Fruits drinks are rich in potassium and magnesium, and low in sodium, just like the fruits they are derived from. They are available all the time, even when the fruits are out of season. They are therefore the easiest way to consume the recommended amounts of potassium and magnesium that are needed to prevent or treat hypertension.

There are many fruit drinks in the market, but many of them are artificial flavours of the fruits, and not the real fruits. These “fruit drinks” are effective in the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Care should therefore be given to look out for the real fruit drinks.

Brands

Brand Name: Dole 100% Pineapple Juice

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Brand Name: Chivita 100% real orange

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Brand Name: 5Alive Pulpy orange

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Heart-friendly Cooking Oil

There are basically two types of cooking oil in Nigeria; the palm oil used in preparing the traditional cuisines, and the other cooking oil used in frying, baking and in preparing stews, for rice and other dishes. The other cooking oils are of different types and have different health effects, but have been bleached to enable them look the same, most times to confuse the buyer.

Cooking oils such as groundnut oil, rapeseed (canola) oil, sesame oil, soyabean oil and sunflower oil are very good for health, because they are very rich in unsaturated fatty acids which have a way of lowering the blood cholesterol level. In recent years, palm kernel oil is increasingly being bleached and sold as cooking oil. This can be dangerous to health, because palm kernel oil is rich in saturated oil, which has a way of raising the cholesterol level of the blood.

It should however be noted that cooking oil contain a lot of calories, and can easily convert a low-calorie diet into a fattening, high-calorie meal. For example, a single tablespoon of oil contains more calories than a bottle of soft drink. Small quantity of cooking oil should therefore be used, especially if you have a weight problem.

Heart-friendly Palm oil

Relevant Information

Patients with hypertension are advised to worry not only about their blood pressure, but also to ensure that their cholesterol level is normal. This is because high cholesterol level is the trigger for deadly complications of hypertension such as heart disease and stroke.

Cholesterol is formed by bad fats. It is unfortunate that the normal palm oil contains the good and the bad fats in equal proportion, hence the need for a special palm oil with reduced content of the bad fat. Heart Friendly Palm Oil contains significantly less of the bad fats, and much more of the good fats, usually in a hygienic and modern pack.

Brands

Brand Name: Methuselah Heart Friendly Palm Oil

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Additional information: Methuselah Heart Friendly Palm Oil is hygienically processed from fresh palm fruits, and refined to retain the good fatty acids, while sieving out the bad ones.

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Groundnut oil

Relevant Information

Groundnut oil also called peanut oil is a cooking oil produced from roasted groundnuts. It does not smoke when it is heated, unlike palm oil, and therefore mostly used for frying. It contains 78% unsaturated fatty acids, and therefore does not raise the blood cholesterol level, which makes it very good for a patient with hypertension.

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Brand Name: Nithanii Groundnut oil

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Brand Name: UAC Grand Pure Groundnut Oil Pure Oil

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Brand Name: Made-In-Nigeria pure groundnut oil.

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Olive oil

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Olive oil is extracted from the fruits of the olive tree, a tree found predominantly in the “Bible region”. It is used for cooking, frying and salad dressing, especially in the “Bible region” where it is the main cooking oil. It is however mostly used in Nigeria for religious purposes. Olive oil contains more than 86% unsaturated fatty acids, and therefore does not raise the blood cholesterol level. This makes it very good for a patient with hypertension.

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Brand Name: Goya Extra Virgin Oil 88.7ml

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Brand Name: Laser Virgin Olive Oil 1L

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Sunflower oil

Relevant Information

Sunflower oil is extracted from the seeds of sunflower (helianthus annuus). It does not smoke when heated and therefore predominantly sued for frying. It contains more than 89% unsaturated fatty acids, and therefore does not raise the blood cholesterol level. This makes it very good for a patient with hypertension.

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Brand Name: Pride Sunflower Oil 5L

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Brand Name: Laser Sunflower Oil

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Canola oil

Relevant Information

Canola oil is extracted from rapeseed, and used predominantly for frying, because it does not smoke when heated. It contains more than 92% unsaturated fatty acids, and therefore does not raise the blood cholesterol level. This makes it very good for a patient with hypertension.

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Brand Name: Omni Canola oil

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Brand Name: Wesson CANOLA OIL – 4.73L

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Cotton seed oil

Relevant Information

Cottonseed oil is extracted from the seeds of the cotton plant (Gossypium), and used predominantly for frying, because it does not smoke when heated; and as salad dressing and for mayonnaise, because of its ability to retain its flavour. It contains more than 94% unsaturated fatty acids, and therefore does not raise the blood cholesterol level. This makes it very good for a patient with hypertension.

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Brand Name: Cajun Injector Cottonseed Oil

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Soybean oil

Relevant Information

Soybean oil is extracted from the seeds of the soybean (Glycine max), and used predominantly for frying, because it does not smoke when heated. It contains more than 84% unsaturated fatty acids, and therefore does not raise the blood cholesterol level. This makes it very good for a patient with hypertension.

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Brand Name: Golden Penny Pure Soya oil

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Brand Name: Sunola Soya Oil

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