Blood pressure can be lowered by "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension” (DASH) by eating less sodium, also called salt. Human blood pressure rises and falls during the day. But when it stays elevated over a period of time, it becomes high blood pressure, and is not good for one’s health. The DASH diet aims to controls one’s saturated fat and cholesterol intake levels. DASH diet is especially helpful to those suffering from high blood pressure and prehypertension.
A diet refers to the way an individual eats and it is not just way to reduce weight. Any kind of eating plan is a diet. The primary aim of the DASH diet is to reduce the sodium salt intake to 2400 to 1500 mg per day. The DASH diet has two versions:
The standard DASH diet
The lower sodium DASH diet
Both types of these DASH diets aim to reduce the amount of sodium in one’s diet. But the sodium lower diet reduces more sodium content in our body than the standard DASH diet. Smoking and alcohol intake should be reduced while on the DASH diet.
Eating more fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy foods can help reduce blood pressure. The DASH diet is low in saturated fat, sodium, total fat and cholesterol. The diet is high in nutrients, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. This diet requires no special foods, and emphasizes more on foods which are rich in fiber. The DASH diet offers other health benefits to other health issues such as diabetes, heart diseases, cancer and stroke.
Individuals who follow the DASH diet are less likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes.
Components of DASH diet
Most adults need around 1600 to 2800 calories a day. The DASH diet provides on average 2000 calories per day which is divided into:
4-6 servings of fruits
4-6 servings of vegetables
6-12 servings of whole grains
2-4 servings of low- or no-fat dairy
1.5-2.5 servings of lean meats, poultry and fish
2-4 servings of fats and sugars
3-6 servings (weekly) of legumes, nuts or seeds
Serving size is between from ½ cup to 1 ½ cup. The DASH diet also limits on alcohol to 2 drinks for men and 1 drink for women per day.
Type of Food included in dash diet?
1. Foods low in saturated fat
2. Foods low in cholesterol and total fat
3. Fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy foods
4. Whole grain products
Fruits: apricots, bananas, dates, oranges, orange juice, grapefruit juice, mangoes, melons, peaches, pineapples, prunes, raisins, strawberries, tangerines which are rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber.
Vegetables: tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, peas, squash, broccoli, turnip greens, collards, kale, spinach, artichokes, sweet potatoes, beans which are rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber.
Grain products: whole wheat bread, English muffin, pita bread, bagel, cereals, grits, and oatmeal are Major sources of energy and fiber.
Dairy products: skim or 1% milk skim or low fat buttermilk, nonfat or low fat yogurt, part skim mozzarella cheese, nonfat cheese that are rich sources of calcium and protein.
Nuts, seeds, and legumes: almonds, filberts, mixed nuts, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, lentils which are rich sources of energy, magnesium, potassium, protein, and fiber.
Food to be reduced in DASH diet.
Beverages containing sugar
All kind of salty food: mustard, catsup, pickles, Soya sauce, etc.
How does it work?
The following minerals are the major content of DASH diet.
Potassium in dash diet, which is provided by fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, dairy products it balances the amount of sodium in human cells. Calcium which is provided by Dairy products, green leafy vegetables, fish with edible bones, calcium-fortified foods helps to prevent high blood pressure.
Magnesium, which comes from eating Legumes, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, lean meats, help to reduce the deficiency linked with higher blood pressure.
The DASH diet is designed to improve one’s eating and exercising habits. DASH diet combined with physical activities will help with weight loss, and maintaining a healthy weight.
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