The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet could be the means to cardiovascular health and lowering your blood pressure through the power of real food. That doesn’t mean depriving yourself – but it could mean rethinking what you eat and discovering that healthier choices actually make you feel a lot better too!
The DASH diet is high in super nutrients like magnesium, calcium, lean proteins and fiber and low in sodium that we know can raise blood pressure. Ready to get started? The daily 2,000-calorie plan features:
- Whole grains (e.g. one slice of whole wheat bread, one cup of ready-to-eat cereal, ½ cup of rice or pasta)
- Fresh or frozen (no additives) vegetables
- Fresh, frozen fruit or canned (no added sugar)
- Low or fat-free dairy products
- Lean protein (meat, poultry, or fish)
- Healthy fats and oils like olive oil, low-fat salad dressing and little to no trans or saturated fats.
You can also have each WEEK limited servings of sweets and nuts, seeds and dry beans. The full plan with serving sizes, food options and more is available at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute site so be sure to check out the details there.
An important tenet of the DASH plan also includes regular exercise (based on your current fitness or health status). If you’re already working out, great. If not, then a check-up at your family doctor is a must. But the results of this plan are clear – participants in several studies all had lower blood pressure and lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol after adopting the DASH diet!
This diet is based on sound nutrition principles and eating fresh, easily-available foods that aren’t just good for you, they’ll also make you feel good! So it’s not just a diet for the short-term, but a program for life. It’s especially helpful to consult a registered dietician as well if you plan to adopt the DASH or any diet. At HCM Wellness Center, we can assist you in helping guide you in your wellness, weight loss or other healthy lifestyle goals and you can visit the Academy of Dietetics at eatright.org for additional resources.