Proper nutrition plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of hypertension, although at first glance it may seem that it is not so important what and how to eat. Nevertheless, it is the correct selection of products, as well as a certain diet, that can significantly improve and stabilize the patient’s condition, while the use of prohibited products can significantly worsen the situation.
To better understand how to properly make a diet, let’s remember what are the risk factors for hypertension. First of all, we should be concerned about the condition of the blood vessels, namely, the danger of deposition of cholesterol plaques on their walls. Based on this, it is necessary to sharply limit (or exclude altogether) foods with a high cholesterol content, at the same time it is very useful to eat more of those plant foods that remove cholesterol from the body (which foods can be included in the diet, and which can not, we will discuss below).
Further, an extremely negative factor is excess weight, so we will pay attention to what products are unacceptable in this regard, and which, on the contrary, not only do not contribute to obesity, but also improve metabolism. It should be noted that currently there are many “miracle” remedies (food supplements, teas, etc.) that are supposedly available to help solve the problem of excess weight in a matter of days. However, everything here is not as beautiful as it seems at first glance. What “fashionable” diets cause significant harm to health, we will discuss below.
Further, excessive consumption of table salt is highly undesirable for hypertensive patients, because salt is known to retain water in the body, which automatically leads to an even greater increase in blood pressure. Other mineral elements are extremely necessary for the cardiovascular system. This is, first of all, potassium and magnesium, therefore, it is necessary to include products containing these elements in the diet.
Finally, there are many plant products that have the most valuable property – to cleanse the body, remove toxins and toxins from it.
There are also those that have a direct therapeutic effect-lower blood pressure, and also have hemolytic properties (dissolve blood clots).
Now let’s look more specifically at what foods can and should be included in the diet of a patient with hypertension, and which ones are better to refrain from.
So, you should sharply limit or exclude from your diet all salty, spicy, fatty, sweet, flour. Highly undesirable for you are products such as herring (with the exception of low-salt), smoked meat, hot pepper, alcohol, egg, fat pork, lamb, meat broths, jelly, lard, margarine, as well as dairy products with high fat content. Salted fish and other salty foods retain water in the body, which can lead to a sharp increase in pressure.
Meat, smoked meats, meat broths, eggs, lard, margarine increase the cholesterol content in the body, which inevitably leads to the deposition of cholesterol plaques on the inner walls of blood vessels, as a result of which their lumen decreases. This, in turn, means that it will be almost impossible to reduce blood pressure, i.e. hypertensive crises, alas, are simply inevitable.
Of course, foodies may object: “What then remains to eat with such a restriction?” And some readers will probably flash this thought: “It is better to live less, but to your full pleasure, than longer, but on a strict diet.” But, my dear ones, for the pleasure of eating smoked meat, herring and other forbidden foods once again, you can pay such a price that you will definitely spend the rest of your life without any pleasure. After all, everyone knows how terrible hypertension is with its crises, which most often lead to strokes, partial or complete paralysis. So we will better stick to the diet, especially since the diet of acceptable products is quite sufficient to make a very tasty menu.
So, what are these products? First of all, from protein products, fish is recommended, cooked in any form (except very salty): stewed, in batter, under marinade, aspic, as well as fish cutlets, meatballs, soups. Fish protein is not inferior in nutritional value to meat, but it does not increase the level of cholesterol in the blood. In addition, it is noted that fish never have tumors (all other animals have them, not to mention humans). This fact interested scientists and a more detailed study found in the body of fish substances that prevent the growth of tumor cells. So, as you can see, there is a double benefit. In addition to fish, you can recommend seafood: squid, shrimp, crabs, etc. Seafood can also include seaweed, which is worth talking about separately. As you know, sea cabbage is a source of an extremely irreplaceable trace element for the body – iodine, with a deficiency of which there is insufficient function of the thyroid gland (iodine is part of the thyroid hormones). In turn, thyroid hormones regulate carbohydrate metabolism (as well as fat and protein), so if there is not enough of them, a person has general weakness, lethargy, reduced tone, rapid fatigue and, which is extremely undesirable for hypertensive patients, overweight (even with very limited nutrition).
It turns out that the conversion of carbohydrates entering the body does not go along the path of their decomposition with the release of energy, but along the path of extremely undesirable – their conversion into fats.
In food products, there is practically no iodine, it can enter the body only with drinking water, and even then not in all regions. Specifically, iodine is added to salt (iodized salt), but if you consider that hypertonic people are supposed to consume very little salt, then iodine practically does not enter the body. That is why it is very desirable to include seaweed in the diet of patients with hypertension.
Moreover, sea cabbage, in addition to iodine, contains many different elements necessary for normal metabolism. Seaweed is also an effective means of preventing atherosclerosis.
Since we are talking about the prevention of atherosclerosis, it is impossible not to say about such an important product as vegetable oil. It is vegetable oils that contain the so-called vitamin F (unsaturated fatty acids), which plays an important role in the prevention of vascular atherosclerosis. I remember when I was a student at the Department of Human Physiology at Moscow State University, we were lectured by Professor Boris Kudryashov, a prominent expert in the field of vitamins. So he, speaking about the prevention of atherosclerosis, spoke very sharply and negatively about those who invented margarine, because it was with the introduction of margarine into the diet that the incidence of atherosclerosis increased sharply, and the condition of hypertensive patients worsened. And this is due to the fact that people began to abandon vegetable oil more and more. Therefore, my advice to you: do not listen to any advertising about any kind of margarine, and always cook only in vegetable oil.
Further, from meat products, white meat (preferably boiled) of chicken, turkey is allowed. Dairy products are allowed only not too high fat content, for example, cottage cheese with a fat content of no more than 5 %, kefir-no more than 2.5 %, sour cream-no more than 20 %, milk-no more than 2.5 %.
Best of all, kefir and cottage cheese of zero fat content. Good dietary cottage cheese can be prepared by yourself. So, if you buy draft milk, leave it in a jar for a few hours in the refrigerator, then drain the top, fattest, layer, and you have almost skimmed milk, from which you will make a delicious low-fat cottage cheese.
Recently, whole battles have been played out regarding milk and dairy products. Some people who do not know human physiology, but consider themselves experts in health issues, try to blame milk for almost all the troubles, in particular, they claim that the milk protein casein slags the walls of blood vessels, “cements” them, causing almost cancer, and even atherosclerosis – this is for sure. One can only marvel at such gross ignorance. After all, casein, like any other protein, gets into the digestive tract, is broken down to amino acids, which have a much smaller molecular weight and are absorbed in the intestine into the blood through the walls of the capillaries. The protein itself, even if for some reason it has not undergone cleavage (for example, due to enzymatic insufficiency), will never be able to enter the blood simply because its molecule is too large for this. (It’s like an elephant, not even a camel, going through the eye of a needle.)
So milk and dairy products are very valuable for nutrition (it is in milk that the optimal amount of calcium and phosphorus is contained), you just need to make sure that their fat content does not exceed the permissible norm.
As for bread, its consumption should be limited, especially white. But it is best to switch to coarse bread, i.e. with bran. First, this bread is less high-calorie compared to other types of bread, and secondly, it contains B vitamins, which are extremely necessary for the body.
Of all the cereals for hypertension, buckwheat is the most desirable, since it contains the elements potassium and magnesium, so necessary for the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system.
Vegetables such as cabbage, baked potatoes, carrots, beets, pumpkin, radish, zucchini, jerusalem artichoke are also extremely useful. For example, cabbage normalizes the metabolism, so daily you should include a salad of fresh cabbage in the diet. Especially worth mentioning about beets. It is beetroot that has a hypotensive effect, i.e. reduces blood pressure, and also has hemolytic properties (dissolves blood clots and prevents their formation). Therefore, it is desirable to use beets in any form – the more, the better (borscht, beetroot, vinaigrettes, salads, etc.). Potatoes are preferably consumed in baked form, since it is the top layer, which is usually peeled off, that contains the necessary trace elements, including potassium. If you like boiled potatoes, then remember that you need to cook them by lowering them into boiling water. With this method of cooking, vitamin C, and its content in potatoes is no less than in citrus fruits, is completely preserved. And, conversely, if you put the potatoes in cold water and put them on the fire, the vitamin C content in the cooked potatoes will be zero. But it is vitamin C (ascorbic acid) that regulates carbohydrate metabolism, and with its lack it is very difficult to cope with excess weight.
But the most wonderful vegetables are, perhaps, pumpkin and zucchini, because they remove cholesterol from the body, and also contribute to weight loss. By my own example, I noticed that regular consumption of zucchini allows you to get rid of an extra 5 kg of weight without much effort within a month. And, of course, this is a good prevention of atherosclerosis.
Black radish has the property of removing salts from the body, in addition, it still has many valuable properties, including antitumor.
Jerusalem artichoke normalizes carbohydrate metabolism, and therefore helps to lose weight.
If we take into account that hypertension patients are recommended to include dried fruits in the diet (raisins, dried apricots, prunes, etc.), then in general it turns out that the diet is not so poor.
So, for the prevention and treatment of hypertension, the following products must be present in the diet: fish in any form, except very salty, seafood, white meat, borscht, soups on water (but not on broth!), low-fat dairy products, vegetables (beets, cabbage, radish, zucchini, pumpkin, jerusalem artichoke, etc.), sea cabbage, soy products not imported, coarse bread. Instead of sugar, it is better to eat honey. And, of course, as many fruits and berries as you want. Especially useful are pineapples, grapefruits, as they help to burn fat. Don’t forget about dried fruits. In addition, it is useful to eat only unsalted rice one or two days a week, and do not eat anything else. If you find it difficult to arrange two rice days a week, it is quite possible to limit yourself to one. This diet is very simple: in the evening, pour 1/2 cup of rice with boiled water, in the morning cook it in unsalted water, and throughout the day eat only this rice, washed down with a small amount of water. If you feel that you can tolerate such a diet quite easily, you can repeat the “rice” day with an interval of two or three days.
You may have noticed that the proposed diet is very similar to the diet of the inhabitants of the Land of the Rising Sun. Indeed, fish, seafood, seaweed, rice – all this is the traditional food of the Japanese. Meanwhile, it is the Japanese who have the longest life expectancy: men live on average 78 years, and women-84 years. For comparison, the average life expectancy of Russians is 20 years less. It turns out that the Japanese live longer than us for a whole generation! And even at such an advanced age, they remain active and energetic. Is this not proof of the correctness of such a diet? After all, it is impossible, for example, to imagine heavy, obese Japanese (with the exception, perhaps, of sumo wrestlers) suffering from shortness of breath. This nation does not know what is atherosclerosis, hypertension, coronary heart disease, etc. (if they were aware of these diseases, they would not have lived so long.) So it is worth seriously thinking about this fact.
We have already mentioned the “rice” day, you can also offer “cottage cheese” and “apple” days as unloading, for example, one day a week – rice, on another unloading day – cottage cheese. Of course, such fasting days will definitely give the desired result: the excess weight will gradually come to naught.
I also want to recommend a certain diet, tested on my own experience.
In the evening, soak 2 tablespoons of buckwheat in boiled water. In the morning, soak 1 tablespoon of oat flakes for 30 minutes, mix with soaked buckwheat, add dried fruits (dried apricots, raisins, prunes). Eat the resulting “porridge”, adding 1-2 teaspoons of honey and drinking a glass of boiling water (without tea leaves and sugar). At the end of such a breakfast, it is advisable to eat something from fruits, but not citrus fruits. The next meal is not earlier than in 4 hours. This makes some sense, since raw unsalted buckwheat is an excellent purifying agent (removes salts, slags, toxins from the body), and, of course, you need to observe a minimum time interval (4 hours).
For the second meal, you can choose from: fish, squid, vegetable stew, low-fat cottage cheese. Coffee and tea at this meal is not recommended, but you can drink juice, or mors, or compote. Next-lunch, taking into account the permitted products, but so that there is always beetroot in the diet (vegetarian borscht, beet salad, etc.).
No later than 17 hours, you can have a light snack to choose from: salads, vegetable stew, cottage cheese, etc. No later than 19 hours-a glass of low-fat kefir, after which you do not eat or drink anything else. At first glance, it may seem that such a diet is too difficult due to the lack of dinner. I also thought at first that it would be impossible to sleep on an empty stomach. But the fears were in vain, the body easily got used to such a regime, easily tolerated the absence of dinner as such, but a glass of kefir at the right time always required. I want to warn you that after taking kefir, you should not take anything in your mouth, even if you allow yourself just a little something, literally a crumb (or a sip of water), you will find it very difficult to cope with hunger before going to bed.
If you get used to such a diet, you can do without even unloading and “cleansing” days, the body is cleansed regularly at the expense of the first breakfast, and the correct selection of products contributes to weight loss. As a physiologist, I think it is more appropriate to stick to this option constantly, i.e. eat every day according to the same scheme.
As for such express methods as, for example, 3 days – only unsalted rice, 3 days-vegetables, also unsalted, and 3 more days-boiled unsalted chicken, here I want to share my own experience.
Well aware that this method is far from justified from the point of view of physiology, I, nevertheless, wanted to test it on myself. The first three days on unsalted rice with a limited amount of liquid were quite easy, the next three days I decided to eat only unsalted chicken meat and the last three days of this diet – unsalted vegetables. So, the first day of the chicken diet was also relatively normal, but the next day (only on the fifth day), such spasms began in the stomach that I was forced to stop the experiment (to get a stomach ulcer, even at the cost of losing a few kilograms of excess weight, there was no desire at all).
After a while, I decided to repeat the experiment, but in a different sequence: rice, vegetables, chicken.
The first three days (on rice) are quite tolerable, the day on vegetables-somehow, and on the second day of the vegetable diet I came to work and could not even really hold a class on herbal medicine. I couldn’t concentrate at all even on familiar questions, my speech was confused, in a word, completely unbalanced. I somehow got home (fortunately, the apartment is literally a two-minute walk from work), lay down, covered myself with a warm cotton blanket (the apartment was quite warm) and feel my hands and feet literally freeze. With fading consciousness, I try to analyze my condition from the point of view of physiology. The first thing I thought was that a salt-free diet for several days led to an ionic imbalance in the body. The fact is that all nerve impulses are carried out with the participation of potassium, sodium and chlorine ions. All nerve fibers in the human body are nothing but electrical conductors of the 2nd kind, where the carriers of electricity are positively and negatively charged particles – cations and anions (in contrast to the conductors of the 1st kind, where the carriers of electricity are electrons). In this case, the deficiency in the body of sodium and chlorine ions (the main carriers of electricity), which arose as a result of a salt-free diet, was the cause of slowness of nervous processes (inability to focus attention, etc.).
Another explanation for this condition is possible intoxication by fat breakdown products. It is clear that a strict diet for several days leads to a sharp breakdown of fat deposits, the resulting unsaturated fatty acids can have a toxic effect on the body. So, as you can see, the popular express methods of weight loss can be very unsafe for the body. In addition, you need to remember that sharply dropped kilograms are very quickly restored, and often with an excess. The optimal rate of weight loss for the body is 1.5-2 kg per month. I perfectly understand the readers who want to quickly get rid of the extra pounds, but it is better to stick to the principle of “go quietly – you will continue”.