Mrs Funmi Lawal, a Dietician with Wuse Hospital, Abuja, on Thursday that hypertensive people should eat the right foods such as whole grains to lower blood pressure.
Lawal gave the advice when she spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
She said that this was important because whole grains had more fibre and nutrients than refined grains for lifestyle intervention.
The dietician said that lifestyle intervention should be the first line of treatment as the foundation for treating hypertension.
“You can control your blood pressure by maintaining a healthy weight and focus on whole grains because they have more fibres and nutrients than refined grains.
“For instance, use brown rice instead of white rice, whole-wheat pasta instead of regular pasta and whole-grain bread instead of white bread.
“Look for products labelled 100 per cent whole grain or 100 per cent whole wheat.
“Grains are naturally low in fat, so avoid spreading on butter or adding cream and cheese sauces,’’ she said.
Lawal said that in addition, there should be an inclusion of legumes, nuts, lean poultry, fish, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
“Increase your vegetable intake (four to five servings a day); tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, sweet potatoes, greens and other vegetables are full of fibre, vitamins and such minerals as potassium and magnesium.
“Examples of one serving include one cup raw leafy green vegetables or half cup cut-up raw or cooked vegetables.
“Include fruits in your daily menu plan (four to five servings a day).
“Many fruits need little preparation to become a healthy part of a meal or snack,’’ she said.
The dietician said that examples of one serving include one medium fruit or half cup of fresh juice, limiting use of meat, butter, cheese, whole milk, cream and eggs in your diet.
She also said that people should avoid trans-fat, commonly found in such processed foods as crackers, baked goods and fried items.
Lawal said that people should limit alcohol intake, engage weight shedding, regular physical activity and reduce sodium to no more than 1,500mg per day.
According to her, these lifestyle modifications are considered the best way to treat hypertension.
She said that since high blood pressure was a leading cause of heart disease, it was important to have one’s blood pressure checked regularly and to take steps to keep blood pressure within a healthy range.
“Visit a dietician to help you manage your diet adequately.
“Physicians recommend that one maintains blood pressure at or below 120/80 mmHg, but high blood pressure is medically defined as any reading higher than 140/90 mmHg,’’ she said.