Updated: Apr 29
Lowering your blood pressure is essential to maintain good health. Hypertension or high blood pressure can be a risk factor for various health issues like heart disease, kidney failure, and stroke. However, by following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, which includes eating less sodium, you can prevent and control high blood pressure.
The DASH diet is mainly composed of foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains, and, fish. These foods contain very less sodium and artificial sweeteners or sugars, unlike ultra-processed foods. A DASH diet is also heart-healthy and brain-healthy. Diet. This way of eating is also lower in dietary cholesterol, saturated and trans fat. They are rich in nutrients that have been linked with reducing blood pressure, such as fibre, calcium, protein, magnesium, and, potassium.
Like every normal food out there, you don’t need any special food type or some difficult recipes. It simply calls for a certain number of daily servings from diverse food groups. Portions and serving sizes are also still very useful when on a DASH diet. You should not overeat. As a man or a woman, eat according to the number of recommended servings and calories per day. Your calorie level depends on your age and how active you are.
The Dash Diet
The DASH diet is a well-known eating plan that is effective in preventing and managing high blood pressure. But making major changes to your diet can be daunting. Fortunately, it's possible to make gradual, sustainable changes that can help you achieve a healthier eating pattern over time. Here are some easy tips to get started with the DASH diet effortlessly.
1. Increase your vegetable and fruit intake:
One of the main highlights of the DASH diet is incorporating more vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits have for long been sidelined from our staples since the industrial revolution when many eat out and more convenient and fast foods came to light. Home-made food with lots of vegetables, fruits, and salads are very instrumental to our wellness and recovery from a disease. A good way to start if you have not been doing so is to add a fruit or some fresh vegetables to every meal. Include a serving of fruit as a snack or at one meal. You can also try new ways of incorporating vegetables into your meals, such as adding them to casseroles or stir-fry dishes. See more benefits of fruits and vegetables here.
2. Eliminate or limit meat intake:
A major recommendation of the DASH diet is to limit or totally avoid animal meats. If you usually eat larger portions of meat, try cutting back gradually over a few days. Enjoy every one of your regular foods like pulses and legumes, grains, vegetables, seeds, and nuts with no guilt or threat to your health.
3. Choose healthy snacks and desserts:
Because of the culture to always snack or have dessert after meals, we have been so long invested in eating pastries and foods that are high in sodium, sugars, and fats. On a DASH diet and pretty much every healthy diet, you will have to choose healthier options for snacks and desserts. Those that are low in calories and more nutrient-dense. These may include unsalted nuts, raw vegetables, and fresh fruits.
4. Eat fruits and vegetables:
Fruits and vegetables can be a convenient addition to your diet, but some can also be high in sodium. Look for low-sodium or no-salt-added options to help you stay within your daily sodium goals. Fruits like apricot, banana, apples, papaya, pear, oranges, grapefruits, carrots, green leafy vegetables, beetroot, etc. are your best options
In addition to following the DASH diet, it's important to make other lifestyle changes to prevent and manage high blood pressure. Losing weight, if necessary, can also support blood pressure management. The DASH diet can be modified to support weight loss by replacing high-calorie foods with low-caloric ones like fruits and vegetables.
Incorporating other lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, reducing stress, and monitoring your blood pressure regularly can also help prevent and control high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, it's essential to take medicines prescribed by your doctor along with following the DASH diet.
In summary, following the DASH eating plan and making lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and quitting smoking can help prevent and control high blood pressure, reducing the risk of various health issues.
Apart from following the DASH eating plan, maintaining a healthy weight, being moderately physically active for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes per week, and eliminating alcoholic beverages are some of the ways to prevent and lower high blood pressure.
Consult with a registered dietitian or your healthcare provider who can be able to tailor the DASH diet to your specific need and preference. With a little patience and committed persistence, you can successfully adopt a healthier eating pattern and improve your overall health.