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the DASH diet for hypertension

Looking for a diet to help lower blood pressure? Follow the DASH diet plan developed and tested by the Harvard researchers. Of all diets to lower blood pressure, this one is the easiest to adjust to. It also works fast.


The DASH diet for hypertension

DASH stands for “DIETARY APPROACHES TO STOP HYPERTENSION”. This diet for high blood pressure showed conclusively that eating more low-fat dairy foods, fruits and vegetables helps to lower blood pressure. The Dash diet does it by emphasizing foods that lower blood pressure and are low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol.

Previous research tried to achieve the same result with individual nutrients and vitamins, and has failed to prove their effectiveness. DASH diet experiment has proven that foods that lower blood pressure act far more effectively than individual nutrients.

Wondering, “What foods can I eat to lower my blood pressure?” If you want to lower your blood pressure quickly, consider Dash diet plan combined with the low sodium intake. Low sodium diet for hypertension requires Consuming maximum one and a quarter teaspoons of salt per day, which is equivalent to 1,500 mg. This is well below the government’s recommended daily intake of 2,400 mg. Patients who used this plan has reduced their blood pressure by as much as 11 mm.Hg! They have achieved this improvement in just 21 days!

The DASH diet action plan

To follow DASH diet effectively, you need to learn basic food groups and size of portions. Sedentary males and active females need to follow 2000 calorie DASH diet. Women who want to lose weight need to follow 1200 or 1600 calorie DASH diet for weight loss. Once you chose your calorie allotment, choose your DASH diet recipes.

2000 calorie DASH diet

2000 calorie DASH diet consists of the foods that lower blood pressure, split into the groups according to their high blood pressure lowering effects:

  • Grains and grain products: 7-8 portions, for energy and fiber
  • Vegetables: 4-5 portions, for Potassium, Magnesium, and fiber
  • Fruits: 4-5 portions, for Potassium, Magnesium, and fiber
  • Low fat or fat free dairy foods: 2-3 portions, for Calcium and protein
  • Lean meat, poultry and fish: no more than 2 portions, for Magnesium and protein
  • Nuts, seeds and dry beans: 4-5 per week, for energy, Potassium, Magnesium, and fiber
  • Fats and Oils: 2-3 servings. DASH has 27% of energy from fat, either naturally occurring in foods or added
  • Sweets: 5 portions per week, not combined with fats. One tbsp of sugar is one portion.

If you are looking for 1600 calorie DASH diet or 1200 calorie DASH diet, please adjust these portions accordingly.

1600 calorie DASH diet

For 1600 calorie DASH diet, eat 4 portions instead of 5, 1.5 – 2.4 portions instead of 3, and 6-6.5 portions instead of 7-8.

1200 calorie DASH diet

For 1200 calorie DASH diet, eat 2.5-3 portions where 2000 calorie dash diet calls for 4-5 ( fruits and vegetables), 4.5 portions of grains, only 3 portions of sweets and 1.5 portions of oils.

You can safely use DASH diet for weight loss, which will also be beneficial to lower your blood pressure.

DASH diet guidelines and tips

Drs. Frank M. Sacks and Hanna Campos from Harvard School of Public Health offer the following practical tips how to lower blood pressure with the DASH diet based on the evidence collected during the Harvard trials, (June 3, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine)

  • Choose low-sodium foods whenever possible; use herbs, spices, vinegar, and other low-sodium flavorings instead of salt.
  • Eat fruit instead of drinking fruit juice.
  • Eat more poultry, fish, nuts, and legumes (beans) and less red meat.
  • Choose low-fat or nonfat milk and other dairy products instead of full-fat versions.
  • Turn to vegetables and fruits instead of sugary or salty snacks and desserts.
  • Select breads, pasta, and other carbohydrate-rich foods that are made from whole grains instead of highly refined white flour.
  • Use unsaturated fats like olive, canola, soybean, peanut, corn, or safflower oils instead of butter, coconut oil, or palm-kernel oil.
  • Rely on fresh or frozen foods instead of canned and processed foods.
  • Don’t skip meals; try to eat one-third of your calories at breakfast.
  • If you need help, record everything that you eat day by day for a week. Have this information reviewed by a dietitian.

What can I do to lower my blood pressure?

The DASH diet is highly recommended to anyone who is ready to use diet to lower blood pressure, especially people with pre-hypertension, whose systolic number is between 120 and 140 mm.Hg . This is because it can help them avoid using hypertensive drugs. DASH diet plan for hypertension is one of the most well-researched, proven approaches to using foods to lower blood pressure. It has proven that foods that lower blood pressure act far more effectively than individual nutrients.

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