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Eating to lower your blood pressure

Healthy Living; Nutrition; Patient Education

​​​How to eat a well-balanced diet to control your blood pressure 


The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is a balanced eating pattern that promotes a healthy cardiovascular system, and has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. The diet contains foods that are rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium - nutrients that help control blood pressure.

What does the DASH diet include?
Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains
Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils 
Limiting foods that are high in saturated fat (e.g. fatty meats, full-fat dairy products and tropical oils such as ​coconut, palm kernel and palm oils)
Limiting sugar-sweetened beverages, food and snacks
•       Ensuring a low sodium intake

Limiting sodium intake 
Sodium is an essential mineral found in many common foods, sometimes naturally and sometimes added as salt during the cooking process. It may also be added during the manufacturing process for flavour or as a preservative. The DASH diet is lower in sodium than a typical diet. Aim for no more than 2000 to 2400 mg of sodium a day, or about 1 teaspoon of salt (add photo from word doc tab - Pending).

Tips to reduce sodium intake  

When cooking at home 
Use salt, seasoning and sauces sparingly
Use fresh herbs and spices to flavour food (e.g. curry powder, pepper, garlic, vinegar, lemon, oregano, basil, parsley, and many more!)
Use fresh vegetables when cooking soup to replace ready-to-use broth 
Choose foods that requires minimal preparation, such as broiled, baked or roasted meats made without sauces, breading or batter

When grocery shopping 
Choose fresh produce over processed (e.g. sausages, hams, luncheon meats, instant noodles and microwave meals) or preserved food items (e.g. canned pickled lettuce, salted vegetables and kimchi)
Choose food products that are labelled ‘no added sodium’ or ‘lower in sodium’ (insert healthier choice symbol - Pending)
Choose food products that do not list sodium as the first few ingredients. Also avoid products that show sodium appearing multiple times in the ingredient list. Sodium can be listed as salt, sea salt, vegetable salt, rock salt, sodium chloride, monosodium glutamate or compounds with sodium in its name (e.g. sodium bicarbonate, sodium inosinate and sodium guanylate).

When eating out 
Leave soup behind and avoid excess gravy 
Avoid consuming dipping sauces 
Choose plain rice over flavoured rice 
Avoid fast food

Limit alcohol intake
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure. If you drink regularly, practise moderation by taking no more than one standard drink per day for women and no more than two standard drinks per day for men. 

One standard alcoholic drink comprises: 
1 can (330 ml) of regular beer
½ glass (100 ml) of wine
1 nip (30 ml) of hard liquor

Contributed by Department of Nutrition & Dietetics Service.
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