9 Diet Tips To Reduce Heart Risk In People With Hypertension

Hypertension, also called “silent killer” is a major cause of cardiovascular-related deaths. Diet management can help reduce the risk of heart risks in people with hypertension, read to find out more.

By URLife Team
03 Jul 2023

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a medical condition characterised by persistently elevated blood pressure levels in the arteries. Normal blood pressure is generally considered to be around 120/80 mmHg, with the systolic pressure being 120 mmHg and the diastolic pressure being 80 mmHg. Systolic pressure represents the force exerted on the artery walls when the heart contracts and pumps blood, while diastolic pressure represents the force when the heart is at rest between beats.  Hypertension occurs when the blood pressure consistently exceeds the normal range.


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As per a 2023 study by the paper Cureus, the prevalence of hypertension among Indians aged 15 to 49 years was 22.8 per cent, out of which 52.06 per cent were newly diagnosed cases. Untreated hypertension or resistant hypertension can substantially increase the chances of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. According to the World health Organisation, nearly 63 per cent of total deaths in India are due to non-communicable diseases, of which 27 per cent are attributed to cardiovascular disease which affects 45 per cent of people in the 40-69 age group. Raised blood pressure is among the most important risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, it remains poorly controlled due to low awareness about hypertension, lack of appropriate care through primary care, and poor follow-up. 

Hypertension is often referred to as the "silent killer" because it usually does not cause noticeable symptoms initially, but it can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. Prolonged high blood pressure puts strain on the heart, blood vessels, and organs, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney problems, and other conditions.


Related story: Reduce High Blood Pressure With Doctor's Rx


Causes of Hypertension

The exact causes of hypertension are unknown, and it is referred to as primary or essential hypertension. The condition can vary depending on the individual, but several factors can contribute to the development of high blood pressure. 


Here are some common causes and risk factors associated with hypertension:

  • Unhealthy Lifestyle: Unhealthy lifestyle choices can significantly increase the risk of developing hypertension. These include consuming a diet high in sodium (salt) and low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, being overweight or obese, lack of physical activity, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking.
  • Genetics: Family history plays a role in hypertension. If your parents or close relatives have high blood pressure, you may have a higher risk of developing it as well.
  • Age: As individuals age, the risk of developing hypertension increases. This is primarily due to the gradual stiffening and narrowing of the arteries, making them less flexible and more prone to increased blood pressure.
  • Chronic Conditions: Certain underlying medical conditions can contribute to hypertension. These include kidney disease, diabetes, hormonal disorders (such as thyroid problems or adrenal gland disorders), and sleep apnea.
  • Medications and Supplements: Certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and some over-the-counter decongestants, can increase blood pressure. Additionally, certain dietary supplements, including herbal remedies and weight loss products, may also raise blood pressure.
  • Stress: Chronic stress or long-term exposure to stressful situations can lead to temporary spikes in blood pressure. However, the direct link between stress and long-term hypertension is still being studied.


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Diet To Reduce Heart Disease In People With Hypertension

As per a 2022 study in Mayo Clinic, diet plays a crucial role in the management and prevention of hypertension. Making healthy dietary choices can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of complications associated with high blood pressure. 

1. Follow the DASH Diet: The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is an eating plan that is not only effective for lowering blood pressure but also reduces the risk of heart disease. The DASH diet emphasises fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins (such as fish, poultry, and legumes), and low-fat dairy products. It encourages limiting sodium intake, saturated and trans fats, sweets, and sugary beverages. Following the DASH diet can help control blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart-related problems.

2. Increase Fruit and Vegetable Intake: Fruits and vegetables are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants, which are beneficial for heart health. Aim to include a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables in your diet, as they provide nutrients that help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.

3. Choose Whole Grains: Opt for whole grains such as whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, and oats, as they contain more fibre and nutrients compared to refined grains. Whole grains have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

4. Consume Healthy Fats: Replace saturated and trans fats in your diet with healthy fats. Choose sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like salmon or mackerel. These fats can help improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

5. Limit Saturated and Trans Fats: Reduce the intake of saturated and trans fats, as they can increase cholesterol levels and contribute to heart disease. Limit the consumption of high-fat meats, full-fat dairy products, fried foods, processed snacks, and commercially baked goods.

6. Reduce Sodium Intake: Lowering sodium (salt) intake is important for managing blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart problems. Avoid adding extra salt to your meals, and be cautious of hidden sources of sodium in processed and packaged foods. Read food labels and choose low-sodium or no-added-salt alternatives whenever possible.

7. Control Portion Sizes and Caloric Intake: Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for heart health. Be mindful of portion sizes and control calorie intake to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Focus on nutrient-dense foods and limit the consumption of sugary and high-fat foods.

8. Limit Added Sugars and Sweetened Beverages: Excess sugar intake can contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease. Minimise the consumption of sugary drinks like soda, energy drinks, and sweetened juices. Instead, choose water, herbal tea, or unsweetened beverages.

9. Moderation with Alcohol: If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart problems. Moderate drinking is defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. 


Related story: 10 Things To Know About Hypertension


It's important to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to create an individualised diet plan that meets your specific needs and health conditions. They can provide personalised guidance and monitor your progress toward reducing heart risk while managing hypertension. 

In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help control blood pressure levels. It is important for individuals with hypertension to monitor their blood pressure regularly and follow their healthcare provider's recommendations to prevent complications and maintain overall health. However, even in cases where the exact cause is not known, addressing lifestyle factors and adopting healthy habits can help manage and control blood pressure levels. Regular check-ups and consultations with a healthcare professional are essential for diagnosing hypertension and determining the most appropriate treatment plan for each individual.


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Regular health checks are essential for everyone, but they are particularly important for individuals who are at risk of or already have hypertension. Taking regular health checks can help detect hypertension at an early stage when it is easier to manage and treat. With the UR.Life HRA, we help you to invest in your well-being through seamless interventions and targeted medical treatments. Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your well-being. We ensure that you can bring your whole self to work.

Click here to learn more about the UR.Life Corporate Wellness programme and unlock better health. 



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