Dash Diet: The Diet Created to Help Those with High-Blood Pressure

Dash Diet: The Diet Created to Help Those with High-Blood Pressure

When it comes to living with high blood pressure (hypertension), one of the most important things that you can do to maintain your health is eating in a way that will keep your blood pressure under control. This is where the DASH diet comes into play. If you have high blood pressure, it is essential that you learn more about this dietary plan, what it entails and how you can use it to help with your high blood pressure.

What is the DASH Diet?

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet isn’t just a fad eating plan, it is a life-long approach to eating designed to treat and prevent high blood pressure. This healthy eating plan encourages you to reduce sodium intake and help eat the right, nutrient-rich foods that will help lower blood pressure.

You will find this diet is filled with calcium, magnesium, potassium and plenty of vitamins that naturally help lower blood pressure. One of the best parts of the DASH diet is that it doesn’t just help with lowering blood pressure, but it can also help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, and diabetes

DASH Diet and Sodium

One of the biggest elements of the DASH diet has to do with maintaining proper sodium levels. The average American diet includes 3,400 mg of sodium per day or more. This is an extremely high amount.

The Standard DASH diet includes 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. However, there is also a lower-sodium version of the diet as well.

The lower sodium DASH diet includes up to 1,500 milligrams per day. This is the recommended amount of sodium per day according to the American Heart Association.

How to Follow the DASH Diet

Interested in the DASH diet? Here’s how to follow it.

Depending on weight loss or weight maintenance needs you can choose a DASH diet plan that provides 1200, 1400, 1600, up to 3100 calories a day.

An example of a 2000 calorie a day DASH diet:

First, if you plan on consuming 2,000 calories per day they should be low in fat. This means limiting sweets and sugars as much as possible with no more than 5 servings per week. These 2,000 calories should be broken down in the following ways.

4 to 5 Servings of Vegetables

Vegetables are an important element of the DASH diet. The more colorful the vegetables, the better. Examples of a single serving of vegetables include: 1 cup raw leafy greens, ½ cup of raw carrots, ½ cup of steamed broccoli.

4 to 5 Servings of Fruits

Fruits are also packed in fiber, potassium, and magnesium and are low in fat, making them a great addition to any healthy diet. An example of a single serving of fresh fruit includes ½ cup of fresh strawberries, ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice, or ½ of a grapefruit.

6-8 Servings of Grains

These healthy grains include whole-wheat, brown rice and multi-grains. Whole grains have more fiber in them. Try to avoid white rice, pasta and bread at all costs. A single serving of healthy grains includes ½ cup of cooked brown rice or 1 slice of whole wheat bread.

2-3 Servings of Dairy

Low-fat dairy is rich in calcium and vitamin D. An example of a single serving of healthy dairy includes 1 cup of skim milk, 1/5 ounces of skim cheese or 1 cup of low fat yogurt.

6 of Less Servings of Lean Animal Proteins

Lean animal proteins are important. This includes meat, poultry and fish. They are not only protein-heavy but filled with iron, zinc and B vitamins. A serving is about 3 ounces of grilled chicken, broiled salmon or fresh tuna.

2 to 3 Servings of Fat and Oil Per Day

Healthy fats and oils are important for a healthy immune system. Healthy fats include coconut oil and olive oil, just make sure to avoid trans fats found in processed foods.

In addition to this daily regimen, you can also have 4 to 5 servings of nuts or seeds per week. Maintaining this diet can mean a number of changes in your diet, but it can help you maintain your health for years to come while keeping your blood pressure under control. If you have questions about the DASH Diet or maintaining your blood pressure contact us at Continuum Internal Medicine today for an appointment by calling 817-617-8650.

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