The incidence and severity of hypertension are affected by nutritional status and intake of many nutrients. Excessive energy intake and obesity are major causes of hypertension. Obesity is associated with increased activity of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone and sympathetic nervous systems, possibly other mineralcorticoid activity, insulin resistance, salt-sensitive hypertension and excess salt intake, and reduced kidney function. High sodium chloride intake strongly predisposes to hypertension. Increased alcohol consumption may acutely elevate blood pressure. High intakes of potassium, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and protein, along with exercise and possibly vitamin D, may reduce blood pressure. Less-conclusive studies suggest that amino acids, tea, green coffee bean extract, dark chocolate, and foods high in nitrates may reduce blood pressure. Short-term studies indicate that specialized diets may prevent or ameliorate mild hypertension; most notable are the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, and the DASH low-sodium diet. Long-term compliance to these diets remains a major concern.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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