Dash Diet
Dash Diet

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a serious medical condition with over 1.28 billion cases worldwide. There are many ways you can develop it – with poor lifestyle, diet, & habits being the leading factors. That’s, to say the least. But luckily, there is much you can do to lower BP. And paying attention to your plate is the place to start.

A healthful diet is an effective first-line defense against hypertension and its risks. Afterall, you are what you eat. If you eat healthy, you stay healthy. In the case of hypertension, reducing sodium and increasing the intake of magnesium, calcium, and potassium-rich foods is what ‘healthy eating’ is all about. To simplify, it means eating more fruits, veggies, and lean protein while keeping salt-laden snacks at bay.

But there’s more to a blood pressure-friendly than just this. We have the DASH diet.

NOTE: If you’re in your early 20s, making necessary changes in your diet will help prevent hypertension development. And if you already have it, the DASH diet suggests foods that lower blood pressure that can help you. 

DASH diet plan for hypertension risk prevention

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. And it is recommended by doctors to those looking to prevent or treat hypertension. It has been long considered as one of the healthiest diets for the heart and following it is simple:

1. Eat more

Fruits | Vegetables | Whole-grain foods | Fish | Poultry | Nuts

2. Eat less of

Low-fat dairy | Foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fats

3. Limit

Sodium (salt) | Sweets | Sugary drinks | Red meats

Unlike other diets like Keto, low carb, and gluten-free diet, DASH diet includes all sorts of food items in limited amounts. But remember, a DASH diet is great with a proper mix of various food groups, but not a quick fix to hypertension. If you wish to start it, you need to practice it as a lifestyle. 

Dash diet tips

  • Add a good amount of vegetables to your plate at lunch and at dinner
  • Eat a plate of fruits as a snack. You can eat canned and dried fruits, but check that they don’t have added sugar.
  • If you have to use butter or salad dressing, use only half of your typical serving. And make sure to use low-fat or fat-free condiments.
  • Instead of drinking full-fat of milk or using full-fat cream for a dish, switch to low-fat or skim dairy products.
  • Limit meat consumption to 6 ounces a day. Make sure you add vegetables along with it as well. 
  • Eat more vegetables and dry beans. You can eat more of your sabji with less number of rotis.
  • If you feel like snacking on chips or sweets often, switch unsalted nuts, frozen yogurt, raisins, unsalted plain popcorn (no butter), and raw vegetables.
  • Pick food products with less sodium content. You can check their labels for this.

Benefits of DASH diet

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • May aid weight loss
  • Decreases cancer risk
  • Lowers metabolic syndrome risk
  • Lowers diabetes risk
  • Decreases heart disease risk

Does the DASH diet work for everyone?

Studies on the DASH diet determined that it significantly helped reduce BP levels in hypertensive patients. However, it must be diligently followed. 

If your salt intake is high, lowering it can offer major health benefits. Comprehensive salt restriction, as advised on the DASH diet, may only be beneficial for people who have high blood pressure.

Final takeaways

Before starting with any diet, always consult your doctor if you are suffering from hypertension as some foods may actually cause a sudden spike in your case. There’s always a possibility since each body is built differently. A doctor and a nutritionist together will be able to help you chalk a hypertension diet chart to help you combat your condition better.