Find all the information you may need to manage your high pressure with the DASH diet in detail here. Also, read about the foods to avoid when on a BP diet.
High blood pressure is the silent killer. If you find yourself facing this issue, then you have to follow a specific diet. Making these changes may be challenging, but it’s possible.
The National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHBLI) introduced DASH diet in 1997 to help people combat the condition. But what is it, and how does it help?
This blog will cover the DASH diet, the foods you should avoid with high BP, and all the tips you need to know about managing your diet and, thus, the deadly condition.
- The DASH diet is a simple and effective way to control high blood pressure symptoms and severity.
- A DASH diet can also be followed to prevent high blood pressure.
- Several foods may increase your blood pressure, including salt and sugar.
Data shows that following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan may help lower blood pressure and also decrease the likelihood of having high blood pressure in the first place.
But what is DASH Diet?
The U.S.-based Institute designed a dietary pattern for people with high blood pressure. We know it by the name of high blood pressure.
The eating plan has no special foods that can be difficult to find and prepare. It only incorporates counting a certain number of servings to keep track of what you’re eating daily.
The DASH diet planning
The number of servings of grains, vegetables, fruits, and other nutrients you can eat daily depends on your calorie intake. Age is an essential component, and so is your activity level.
What can you eat in DASH Diet?
The DASH diet contains a rich offering of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It also includes fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, and nuts. This diet excludes foods that have high saturated fats, like fatty meats or full-fat dairy products.
Here’s an example of a moderately active person with high blood pressure.
Servings per day (2000 calories)
What does the food group provide
4 - 5
Imp for fiber, potassium, and
6 - 8
Fiber and energy
4 - 5
Fiber, potassium, and
Lean meats, poultry, and fish
6 or less
Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
2 - 3
Calcium and protein
The DASH study had more than 27 percent of calories from fat, including saturated fat in foods that have been modified.
Nuts, seeds, and legumes
4 - 5 per week
protein, and fiber
<5 per week
Whatever you choose should be low in fat
Tips to follow the DASH diet properly
- Usually, the serving sizes vary between ½ cup and 1¼ cups, depending on the cereal type. You may check the product’s Nutrition Facts label.
- There is evidence that the cholesterol contained in eggs may contribute to certain heart conditions. So, try limiting your egg yolk intake to no more than four per week to enjoy them.
- Cooking with fats and oils can be tricky; they are consumed in different quantities than traditional foods. One tablespoon of a low-fat dressing equals one-half serving; one tablespoon of a regular salad dressing equals one serving, and 1 tablespoon of a fat-free dressing equals 0 servings.
However, following the DASH diet alone is insufficient; you must ensure staying away from certain other foods to truly benefit.
Foods To Avoid
Some dietary restrictions may increase your blood pressure, and others may slow it down. Restricting blood-pressure-triggering foods can help lower blood pressure levels and regulate them.
Salt can alter the fluid balance in the body. So, if you consume too much salt, it can lead to what is considered high blood pressure and also heart disease.
Table salt with 40% sodium is essential for health, but this limit is easily crossed. The American Heart Association recommends that you get no more than 2,300 mg of sodium each day, i.e., 1 teaspoon.
Sugar has very few health benefits and is strongly linked to being overweight. It may also lead to high blood pressure.
A study even suggests that sugar is more harmful than salt for a high blood pressure patient. The same study elaborates that fruit corn syrup is the reason behind high blood pressure.
Focusing on what you eat is essential. One way to select healthier foods is to check their packaging before purchase and ensure they are free from high fructose corn syrup.
Consuming red meat regularly can contribute to high blood pressure.
Meat’s link to heart disease is a recent discovery linked to the compound Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). This compound is produced when red meat is digested and can cause cardiovascular disease.
Alcohol is bad for your heart, according to the American Heart Association. The muscles in the blood vessel are the most impacted making them narrower. In short, more alcohol = more hypertension.
Alcohol has also been shown to increase the risk of heart disease in certain groups of people.
Alcohol is an empty-calorie drink that can cause weight gain or replace more nutritious meal options. Therefore, experts recommend drinking it in moderation: 2 for men and 1 for women.
Prepackaged and processed foods
Avoid trans fats. These culprits are added to enhance the shelf life of a product. But while they may be suitable for the manufacturers, they are bad for you if you have high blood pressure.
Eating them regularly risks lowering HDL (good) cholesterol and increasing LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, thereby increasing high blood pressure.
Note: Trans fats, saturated fats, high sugar, sodium, and low-fiber carbohydrates are frequently found in packaged, pre-prepared foods.
These are the top foods you should avoid, but there are many more. Check the list below:
If you have high blood pressure, staying on track with your diet is essential. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is a great way to do this, and I’ve outlined all the basics of the DASH diet above.
Natural supplements help lower blood pressure. You may also use them alongside your DASH diet for controlling blood pressure.
Also, make sure to read through the list carefully so that you know what foods you need to avoid. If you still need to decide which approach might be best for you, speak with your doctor.
Challa Hima J., DASH Diet To Stop Hypertension May 15, 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482514/#:~:text=DASH%20recommends%20more%20servings%20of,hypertension%20and%20also%20contain%20carcinogens.
Bethesda, MD YOUR GUIDE TO Lowering Your Blood Pressure With DASH 2006 https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/new_dash.pdf
Suri Sheenam, et. al., DASH Dietary Pattern: A Treatment for Non-communicable Diseases Published online 2020 Aug. doi: 10.2174/1573402115666191007144608 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7499347/