Role of Dietary Components in Modulating Hypertension

Hypertension is a major health issue, particularly in medically underserved populations that may suffer from poor health literacy, poverty, and limited access to healthcare resources. Management of the disease reduces the risk of adverse outcomes, such as cardiovascular or cerebrovascular events, vision impairment due to retinal damage, and renal failure. In addition to pharmacological therapy, lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise are effective in managing hypertension. Current diet guidelines include the DASH diet, a low-fat and low-sodium diet that encourages high consumption of fruits and vegetables. While the diet is effective in controlling hypertension, adherence to the diet is poor and there are few applicable dietary alternatives, which is an issue that can arise from poor health literacy in at-risk populations. The purpose of this review is to outline the effect of specific dietary components, both positive and negative, when formulating a dietary approach to hypertension management that ultimately aims to improve patient adherence to the treatment, and achieve better control of hypertension.