Hypertension, or popularly called as high blood pressure, is a major modifiable risk factor for heart diseases and stroke. The conditions are the first- and third-leading causes of deaths in the developed countries, respectively. Well, the normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg, and a level of 140/90 or more causes hypertension. However, if you have values in between these two, then you have pre-hypertension.
There are many different ways of preventing or reducing blood pressure levels. One of many others is keeping an eye on what you eat. In one research sponsored by the US National Institute of Health, a healthy diet, called the DASH diet, was developed to lower blood pressure without any medications. It is highly recommended by the American Heart Association, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, US Guidelines for treatment of high blood pressure, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
About the DASH Diet
DASH diet has many other benefits in reducing the risks of heart diseases, stroke, cancer, diabetes mellitus, and renal diseases (like nephrolithiasis). This healthy diet has proved its efficacy in a moderate amount of weight loss. It reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and improves insulin sensitivity. DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is very effective in reducing blood pressure levels. The DASH diet helps in reducing sodium levels and increasing nutrient-rich food that lowers blood pressure. Good examples include potassium, calcium, magnesium, and fiber.
The main aim of the DASH diet is to have a plan rich in fruits and vegetables, low fats, nuts, beans, seeds, and non-fat dairy. An optimized diet for the DASH diet has been planned after studying many research studies. New research studies suggest more proteins, carbohydrates, and low healthy fats. To suppress hunger, meals, and snacks can be replaced with fruits and vegetables, protein-rich foods, and a small amount of healthy fats. It encourages whole grains in place of refined grains. Also, 2-3 servings of chicken, meat, and fish can be included in the diet. Sweets and fats should be used in limited amounts.
Although the emphasis is that the diet can lower hypertension, the DASH diet is not only meant for hypertensive patients. Well, it is recommended for “normal blood pressure” individuals to lead a healthy life. Noteworthy is that cardiovascular diseases can also be prevented or lowered. No doubt, it is crystal clear that the diet is meant for virtually everyone. It is always better to follow a healthy diet in all the family members. The chances are that you wish to give it a try, but you don’t know how to get started. All you have to do is to contact a dietician for more information. Try it today!