No diet discussion for High Blood pressure is complete without talking about the DASH diet.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
This diet is relatively simple and involves:
- Eating more fresh fruits and veggies
- Indulging in low-fat dairy products
- Increasing the intake of nuts, whole grains, and fish
- Lowering the intake of red meat, salt, and high sugar content food items
Reducing the consumption of food items that are high in cholesterol, trans fats, and saturated fat
Another favorite variation of the DASH diet is the DASH-Sodium diet. This diet refers to cutting the sodium intake per day (to about 2-3 teaspoons, 1500 milligrams). While this reduction doesn’t need to be immediate, you can gradually reduce the sodium intake till your body adjusts to this prescribed goal.
Tips to adapt to the DASH diet:
- Make it a habit of reading product ingredients and shopping for food items that are low on sodium
- Add dry beans to your diet
- Try to use low-fat or zero-fat condiments
- Half your servings of margarine, butter, and salad dressings
- Reduce meat servings to about 6 ounces each day
- Indulge in healthy snacking – choose unsalted nuts, raisins, dry fruits instead of chips, try low or fat-free yogurt, and plain popcorns without butter
- Turn vegetarian, if possible
Consult a dietician or doctor before you put yourself on a DASH diet. That’s because he/she will accurately be able to tell you what should be your calorie intake per day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Simultaneously, specific foods that you need to avoid include:
- Frozen Meals
- Packaged and Processed food
- Soft drinks
- Canned beans
- Sauces, to name a few
Many doctors also recommend a Mediterranean Diet to keep blood pressure and heart ailments at bay.
Some common traits of this diet include:
- Low to moderate consumption of wine and alcohol.
- Increased consumption of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, bread, cereals, and potatoes
- Olive oil to be consumed as a single monounsaturated source of fat
- Consumption of egg restricted to about four times a week to the maximum
- Significant reduction in red meat consumption
- Fish, dairy products, and meat to be consumed in limited to low amounts
Many attribute the benefits of this diet as the sole reason for a low rate of heart diseases in the Mediterranean countries. However, the American Heart Association suggests that further studies and experiments need to be conducted to quantify the benefits of this diet.
Keep a track
Many dieticians also suggest tracking how many calories you are eating and drinking per day. Write down whatever you consume each day, this also includes jotting down the portion sizes. It is said that this is one of the best ways to enlightening yourselves about much you are consuming. Basis this analysis, you can then work out a plan – on reducing the calorie count and the portion size and finally your blood pressure too!