The main objectives in the dietary management of hypertension involve : • minimizing the strain on the heart. • lowering and normalization of blood lipid levels, if elevated, especially cholesterol. • preventing or controlling hypertension and other related Complications. • maintaining satisfactory nutritional status and body weight at ideal or 5% below the ideal level.

The following guidelines may be used to assess the nutritional requirements, keeping in mind the effect of various dietary components on blood lipid profile and hypertension. Energy : The intake is dependent on body weight at ndeal or 5% below it. For weightloss, which should be gradual, a daily reduction of 500-1000 keal may be made. This alone can help normalize blood lipid profile and lower blood pressure, if hypertension is present. Protein : Normal intake is recommended, preferably from foods of vegetable origin or lean meat and skimmed milk and its products.

Fat : Total intake should provide about 20% of the energy and definitely below 30%.

Intake of SFA should be reduced with emphasis on PUFA. An eqqal ratio is recommended for PUFA : SFA : MUFA. Cholesterol : Intake should be restricted to 300 mg per day and 150 mg in cases of familial hypercholesterolemia. Carbohydrate : About 60-65% of the calories may be from carbohydrate with not more than 10-15% from single sugars. Emphasis should be on complex carbohydrate with not more than 10-15% from simple sugars. Emphasis should be on complex carbohydrates rich and fibre.

Minerals : Intake should be adequate with special attention on protective minerals like calcium and potassium. Sodium should be restricted for prevention or control of hypertension.

Vitamins : Intake should be adequate with emphasis on vitamins E, C, B6 and Niacin. Dietary fibre : Atleast 30-40g dietary fibre should be incorporated in the daily diet, with emphasis on the soluble, viscos fibre like pulse fibres, gums and pectins. Fluid : Intake can be normal. These principles constitute the ‘prudent diet’ which can be used as prophylactic or therapeutic measure.
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