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Feature Articles: Health

Help for Hypertension
A Dietary Guide

By: Tricia Fleming, University of Kansas Dietetic Intern,
Tammy Beason, MS, RD, Nutrition Education Specialist, Family Nutrition Education Program.
Candance Gabel, MS, RD, LD, Associate State Nutrition Specialist, Family Nutrition Education Program,
Adapted from: The American Dietetic Association's Complete Food and Nutrition Guide


What is Blood Pressure?
Blood Pressure is the force of blood against the wall of the arteries. Systolic pressure is the pressure as the heart beats. Diastolic pressure is the pressure while the heart is at rest. Blood Pressure is written systolic over diastolic. For example, 110/75, 110 is the systolic pressure and 75 is the diastolic pressure.

What is Hypertension?
Hypertension is another term for High Blood Pressure. High Blood Pressure is diagnosed as a measure of 140/90 on three separate occasions.

Why is High Blood Pressure Important?
High Blood Pressure makes the heart work too hard, it can make the walls of arteries harden, and it is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. High Blood Pressure has many complications such as heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness.

Who can develop High Blood Pressure?
Anyone can develop high blood pressure. Those who are especially at risk are African Americans, older adults >60, overweight individuals and those who have "high normal" blood pressures. For example 135-139/85-89 mm Hg.

How can we Prevent and Treat Hypertension?
A major part of both preventing and treating hypertension is lifestyle modification. Some guidelines are adopting a healthy lifestyle, following a healthy eating pattern, maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, limiting alcohol, and quitting smoking.

  • Eat plenty of fresh and frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables. If can vegetables are used rinse them prior to cooking under running water for two to three minuets. Rinsing canned vegetables will decrease the sodium content by approximately 40 percent.
  • Season with herbs, spices, herbed vinegar, herb rub, and fruit juices or prepare easy salt-free herb blends. See recipes below.
  • Read the "Nutrition Facts" information on the label to find the sodium content of a packaged food. You will find the sodium content in milligrams for a single serving. The % Daily Value for sodium is also given. The amount is based on 2,400 milligrams of sodium for the day.
  • Choose low-sodium products. Read the label and look for words such as, "unsalted," "no-salt-added," "reduced sodium," "sodium-free," or "low in sodium."
  • When eating out taste your food before you add salt or better yet, request that foods be prepared without added salt.
  • Ask for sauces and salad dressings on the side since they are often high in sodium. For a salad, use a twist of lemon, a splash of vinegar, or a light drizzle of dressing.
  • Weight reduction will help lower blood pressure. To help decrease calories from fat consume low-fat or fat-free products.
  • Consume adequate calcium by including low-fat dairy products in your diet three times per day.
  • Take a walk for 20 to 30 minutes on most days of the week. Increasing your activity will improve your overall since of well-being as you lower your blood pressure.

Salt-Free Herb Blends
Directions: Combine the ingredients in a jar. Cover tightly, and shake. Keep in a cool, dark, dry place. Use in place of commercial mixes. Yield: Cup

Chinese Five-Spice: Blend cup ground ginger, 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon each of ground allspice and anise seeds, and 2 teaspoons ground cloves.

Mixed Herb Blend: Blend cup dried parsley flakes, 2 tablespoons dried tarragon, 1 tablespoon each of dried oregano, dill weed, and celery flakes.

Italian Blend: Blend 2 tablespoons each of dried basil and dried marjoram, 1 tablespoon each of garlic powder and dried oregano, and 2 teaspoons each of thyme, crushed dried rosemary, and crushed red pepper.

Curry Blend: Blend 2 tablespoons each of turmeric and ground coriander, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoons each of ground cardamom, ground ginger, and black pepper, and 1 teaspoon each of powdered cloves, cinnamon, and ground nutmeg.

Mexican Chili Blend: Blend cup chili powder, 1 tablespoon each of ground cumin and onion powder, 1 teaspoon each of dried oregano, garlic powder, and ground red pepper, and teaspoon cinnamon.

Greek Blend: Blend 3 tablespoons each of garlic powder and dried lemon peel, 2 tablespoons dried oregano, and 1-teaspoon black pepper.

Easy Dip Blend: For use when mixing with cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, or low-fat sour cream. Blend cup dried dill weed and 1 tablespoon each of dried chives, garlic powder, dried lemon peel, and dried chervil.



Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009








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