The Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension (DASH) plan is not another new fad diet. It is a healthy eating plan for people with high blood pressure or hypertension (HTN). It comprises of a low fat and sodium, and high fiber, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Using the DASH plan on your diet can help lower your blood pressure by up to 14%.
The benefits of the DASH plan don’t stop at controlling your blood pressure. This nutrition and dietary plan can help lower your risk of getting:
- Heart disease
- Type II Diabetes
While the DASH plan is not a weight loss diet, you may experience a significant drop on a few of those unwanted pounds because you are making better food choices.
What is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury, mmHg. There are two numbers in your blood pressure: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. A healthy blood pressure 120/80, but for most people with diabetes, the goal is less than 130/80. High blood pressure or hypertension is sometimes called a silent disease because most of the time you can’t tell if your blood pressure is too high. You may feel great but if your blood pressure is high, your risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney diseas, or vision problems may go up.
What can you eat on the DASH plan?
There are no foods that you can never eat, but as with most healthy eating plans, it is best to limit sweets and desserts, alcohol, and even caffeine. You also need to cut back on your sodium intake, which means using less salt on foods and in cooking and choosing lower-sodium foods at the grocery store.
Most people take in more sodium per day than is healthy for them. Here are some ways to cut back on the amount of sodium in your diet:
- Try not to add salt to your dish during or after cooking. Use salt-free seasoning such as spices, herbs, and lemon juice to add flavor
- Use low-sodium or no-salt added products whenever possible.
- Eat fresh poultry, fish and lean meats, rather than cold cuts or canned or smoked types.
- Watch out for high-sodium products such as ketchup, mustard, barbeque sauce, soy sauce, olives, and pickles.
- Rinse canned foods, such as canned vegetables, tuna, fish and beans to remove most of the sodium.
- Read food labels for sodium. A low-sodium food has no more than 140mg per serving or 5% or less of the daily value of sodium per serving.