How do I advise an hypertensive person to feed?

I have an hypertensive relative who loves to eat just about anything. The situation does not seem to get better even when she sticks to her medication.  How can I streamline her feeding for her? Would that even help her at all?

  Topic Health Subtopic Nutrition Tags health food hypertenstion nutrition diet
2 Months 2 Answers 165 views

Ronke Olajide

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Answers ( 2 )

  1. J Starr 4395 Community Answer

    The biggest dietary issue in hypertension (high blood pressure) is salt-  sodium.  NaCl  The stuff that makes food taste even better. 

    Decrease sodium intake.  Look for hidden sodium- check where it is on the ingredient list-  down at the bottom, in the middle or at the top?  At the top means "just don't eat that food", in the middle means, "only eat a little of that food" and at the bottom means "eat a portion of that food".  Look for other seasonings which can help mimic what salt does for food: Lemon juice Mrs Dash's blends, potassium (easy does it, but it can help mimic what salt does for food) and, oddly enough, sea salt.  Seat salt tastes just like salt and does for food exactly what salt does, but it is lower in sodium. Use sea salt (I like the coarse grind- not so easy to over-salt) to start decreasing the need for "salty" flavor altogether.  Don't try to give up salt completely;  first, your body needs sodium- it is an electrolyte which is one of the minerals used by cells to create energy and synapse transfers;  secondly, you don't need to go down to none-none-none-- you just need to decrease.

    The other food practice is to eat far less.  Far less. Less than that far less.   While true there are some quite thin people who nonetheless have hypertension, that is not usual; usually, people who are hypertensive are also overweight. So, eat less, lose weight.  Which will also likely help drop cholesterol numbers which, trust me, if you have hypertension, you want those numbers well under 200 so a bit of cholesterol lining a blood vessel doesn't break off and  cause the stroke hypertension is known for. Please, please, please trust me:  You do not want a stroke.

    So, cut salt to not very danged much, and eat far less food to lose weight, and it is very possible hypertension will be better controlled.

    UTC 2021-07-24 08:58 PM 0 Comments
  2. I'm going to guess that your hypertensive relative actually knows what they're supposed to eat, and probably isn't looking to you for dietary advice. Since you're not a doctor, it's not really your job to advise them, and they may well be taking advantage of that fact, eating the things they want to eat when the doctor isn't there to suggest otherwise. 


    If your relative knows they have hypertension and has been prescribed medication, they must have received that diagnosis and prescription from a physician. And it's highly unlikely that the physician didn't also give them fairly detailed advice about what to eat and what to avoid. So this question is really more about how you want to manage your relationship with this relative. If you consider yourself that person's caretaker, and they see you the same way, then you'll want to make sure they avoid added salt, which is one of the most significant contributors to high blood pressure. Of course, that's going to be quite unpleasant for them at first, as salt is very important to the flavoring of dishes. Fortunately, though, if they stick to a reduced-salt diet for a while, their taste will start to change, and they'll find that they now enjoy things with lower salt. Eventually, the dishes they used to prefer will taste overwhelmingly salty, and it will become a bit easier to moderate.


    As @J Starr suggests in the other answer here, there are also other seasonings that can be used to perk up the flavors of a low-salt dish. And reducing portion size is definitely another great way to reduce salt intake. In addition to the alternate seasonings and smaller portions suggested, your relative can also ask their physician or a dietician for suggestions on other ways to enhance flavor without enhancing sodium. I can't agree on the sea salt vs. table salt recommendation, though, as the actual difference in sodium is pretty negligible and it's easy to end up just seeking the old salt levels rather than developing a palate for less salty foods. 


    NOTE: Because I am not a practicing physician, this post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a physician or registered dietician (an actual RD, not an unlicensed "nutritionist") before undertaking any dietary regimen that has important health consequences.

    UTC 2021-07-30 08:35 AM 0 Comments

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