The DASH diet is becoming more popular among various sections of our society. But can it truly help lower your blood pressure? Read on to find out everything about it.
- The DASH diet can help lower your blood pressure without disrupting your daily routine.
- Unlike other diets, DASH (short for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) is suitable for a wide range of individuals from all age groups and walks of life.
- DASH is not restricted by fasting or following specific activity. It’s highly adaptable and allows you to take in nutrients from various alternatives should you miss out on your regular sources.
If you’ve ever been curious about nutrition, you may realise it’s a highly curated field. There are not many options out there that fit the requirements and schedule of every person every time.
Thus, finding the proper diet requires substantial research and frequent visits to a health professional.
But for those suffering from high blood pressure or hypertension, there is one alternative that can suit their lifestyle, regardless of their age, body type, gender, daily schedule, or preferences.
You might have heard of the DASH diet helping people regulate their blood pressure back to normal. If you want to know about it in detail, this is just the guide you need.
What Is A DASH Diet?
‘DASH’ is short for ‘Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.’ It is a diet specifically designed to lower blood pressure in those who follow it.
With DASH, you ensure that your body gets enough nutrition without interfering with your routine or forcing you to fast. It is similar to the Mediterranean diet but gives concrete recommendations and specific nutritional amounts to make it work.
When you follow a DASH diet, you consume the foods that have always been recommended to you: fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean meat products.
In addition, you restrict your sugar intake and only eat items with saturated fats. For most individuals, the daily consumption is capped at 2000 calories.
A few everyday food items that can exist in a DASH diet include the following.
- High-fibre fruits like apples, oranges, kiwis, pears, pineapples, etc. You can eat them fresh, frozen, or canned.
- Leafy-green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, ladyfinger, peas, etc. Followers of a DASH diet can consume them raw, cooked, or through soup.
- When following a DASH diet, you can consume up to six 1-ounce servings of lean meat. That can consist of fish, egg, or poultry. Red meats in the form of pork or beef are not allowed.
- Nuts, cereals, and grains of any variety. As per your preference, you can eat them dry or mix them in with rice or pasta.
- You can even consume a maximum of five servings of sugar per week, culminating in no more than 15 grams.
Another crucial aspect of the DASH diet is limiting your sodium intake. It should be at most 2300 mg per day, although people would limit it to 1500 to account for fasting and other routine changes.
You can achieve it by using non-sodium salts and preferring lean cuts with little skin or fat.
The DASH diet can suit almost any individual since it is highly adaptable and doesn’t put a drain on your budget. In fact, you can grow most of the allowed food items right in your backyard.
Since canned and frozen items are not exempt, it’s easy to stock up for off-season months and share your supplies with others.
Given that the DASH diet regulates the intake of sugar and sodium in your body, it’s an excellent choice for those looking to reduce their blood pressure. Hypertension is often the pretence for more serious cardiac issues like diabetes and heart attacks.
By controlling your blood pressure through DASH, you also pose a lower risk to the urinary system. It prevents the formation of kidney stones and damaged blood vessel walls.
In addition to controlling your blood pressure, a DASH diet grants you the below-mentioned benefits.
- You gain all the required nutrients for your body, decreasing other health complications affecting other body parts like your liver, lungs, and bones.
- You can conveniently swap food products so long as you meet your daily nutrient intake quota.
- The DASH diet doesn’t restrict you enough that you need a cheat day every once in a while. You can consume your favourite delicacies without breaking your nutritional mark.
- It is compatible with all kinds of cultures and habits. Whether you prefer kosher or halal, vegan or vegetarian, gluten-free or fat-free, you can follow the DASH diet without issues.
Although it seems pretty simple to follow, there are a few tips that you can adopt to ensure you stick to a DASH diet for the foreseeable future.
Before starting your diet, check in with a trusted nutritionist to understand which food items should exist within your diet. They can conduct tests and warn you whether any of them might trigger an allergic reaction or provide you with enough nutrients.
You don’t have to adopt a DASH diet from day one. It is best to ease your routine into it by only switching a few food items at first, gradually working your way at each meal.
Eating the same food every day can get bland after a while. So, ensure to switch your ingredients and dishes regularly, so you don’t relapse into an unhealthy lifestyle.
In case you’re on the move, you can keep a few healthy snacks to grab a quick bite. Those can comprise non-salted nuts, sodium-free popcorn, seeds, or frozen yoghurt.
Creating and following the DASH diet that best suits your needs is pretty convenient. It can reduce your blood pressure back to manageable levels while also providing additional benefits.
We hope this guide helps you understand it in its entirety and its benefits in building healthier eating habits in the future.
Hima J. Challa et al. “DASH Diet To Stop Hypertension” Published on May 15, 2022 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482514/
Sandhya Prudhi, MD. “DASH diet: Healthy eating to lower your blood pressure” Published on June 25, 2021 https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/dash-diet/art-20048456#:~:text=Studies%20have%20shown%20that%20the,for%20heart%20disease%20and%20stroke.
Elaine Hinzey. “DASH Diet” Published on September 23, 2022 https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/dash-diet