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Heart and cardiovascular system

Hypertension can also be treated at the table

May 23, 2018

Hypertension is a condition that leads to blood pressure values above normal, and it is a very important risk factor for the onset of cardiovascular diseases.


Treating hypertension means reducing the risk of falling victim to heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure. A preventative action can also be carried out at the table, as we see below, with the help of Dr. Sabrina Oggionni, dietician of Humanitas Gavazzeni Bergamo.


Does reducing one’s weight improve blood pressure?

Weight gain can help worsen blood pressure values, or develop the problem of hypertension. One must therefore control one’s own pressure by means of food choices that must be respected day by day. From this point of view, it is important to learn to make conscious choices over time, because the best results are achieved in the long term, affecting the lifestyle. The food strategies that end within a few days are useless.


Reduce salt consumption

Salt is the most precious friend of hypertension; the sodium content is the element that mostly contributes to raising blood pressure values. For this reason, we must not exaggerate in its use, remembering that we must consider not only the salt that we add to our dishes, but the salt that is already present in the foods that we put on the table every day. Prepared products, baked goods such as bread, as well as unsuspected products such as biscuits and cereals, which already provide 50% of the recommended salt intake. The advice is to read the label carefully and, before buying, check the salt intake of the individual food.

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The go-ahead for spices and aromas

If you do not want to give up the most intense flavors, you must learn to replace all or at least part of the salt with sodium-free seasonings. The green light therefore goes to spices and aromas of varying intensity and flavor, vinegar and lemon that are able to enhance the savory flavor of dishes such as, for example, cooked vegetables. However, watch out for flavors like the nut and the now widespread soy sauce.


Always prefer fresh food

Preserved foods generally have a higher salt content. The fresh ones are much less rich in salt, – just 10% of what we can introduce daily in our body without counting what we add during preparation/cooking – because often the salt is added at an industrial level to facilitate the preservation of food. It is true that treated foods are tastier, but from the point of view of hypertension they are even more dangerous. It’s worth getting your palate trained when it’s our health that benefits.


Don’t spare fruit and vegetables

Vegetable fruits – when they are natural, fresh and untreated – can help improve pressure values because they contain more potassium than sodium. Potassium is very present in plants and it is important to maintain optimal functioning of our cells. But beware: if you have kidney disease seek advice from your doctor before consumption.

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