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What is the DASH Diet to Manage Hypertension?

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What is the DASH Diet to Manage Hypertension?

If you have hypertension i.e. if your blood pressure is above 140/90mmHg, your doctor may recommend a DASH diet to bring down the elevated blood pressure.

A DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is a simple to follow dietary regimen in which you have to –

  • Eat more vegetables, fruits, and dairy foods that are low in fat

  • Cut back on foods that are high in trans fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol

  • Eat more lean proteins – fish and poultry – whole grains and nuts

  • Limit intake of red meat, sugary beverages, and sweets

  • Restrict sodium consumption to 2-3 teaspoons per day

Studies showed that people who followed a DASH diet meal saw their blood pressure levels decrease in two weeks.

Tips on Starting a DASH Diet

A DASH diet should ideally include a specific number of servings daily from a variety of foods. The number of servings depends on your daily calorie requirement.

  • One serving of veggies at lunch and dinner – broccoli, tomatoes, carrots

  • One serving of fresh fruits in your meal or as a snack – replace canned fruits with real fruits like to avoid added sugar and preservatives

  • Half a serving of margarine, butter, and fat-free or low-fat condiments to add some flavour to the food

  • Skimmed or low-fat dairy products instead of cream and full-fat dairy

  • Switch to vegetarian meals once in a while

  • Limit meat consumption to 6 ounces per day

  • Add more dry beans and leafy greens to your diet

  • Eat unsalted nuts and raisins, fat-free or low-fat yoghurt

As part of your DASH diet, the doctor may suggest getting –

  • 7-8 servings of grains daily

  • 4-5 servings of vegetables and fruits every day

  • 2-3 servings of fat-free/low-fat dairy items per day

  • 2 or fewer servings of fish, meat and poultry daily

  • 4-5 servings of dry beans, nuts and seeds every week

  • 2-3 servings of oil and fats daily

Benefits of the DASH Diet for Controlling High Blood Pressure

The DASH diet, designed to prevent and manage high blood pressure, is a lifelong approach to healthful eating. The diet encourages you to cut back on salt intake and include essential nutrients like calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Following this special diet plan can help you reduce your systolic blood pressure by 8-14mmHg – this may make a huge difference to your overall health.

Besides lowering your blood pressure, a DASH diet also benefits your health in a number of ways –

Uncontrolled hypertension may lead to several health complications sooner or later. With a well-made DASH diet plan, you may be able to keep your blood pressure within the desired range and reduce your risk of related health disorders.

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