DASH-Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension
DASH is a kind of flexible, harmonious, balanced eating plan towards improving the blood lipid levels, there by preventing the high blood pressure and the cardiovascular disease.
Why prevent hypertension?
When the blood pressure elevates, it puts an extra stress to the heart and blood vessels. If the blood pressure is not controlled and stays high all the time, then you are at a high risk of heart attacks, strokes, and renal (kidney) disease. Many factors can affect blood pressure, like amount of water and sodium in the body, the condition of renal and blood vessels, and the hormone levels. As you grow older your blood vessels become stiffer and this could be one of the reason for high blood pressure.
Trans fats and excess saturated fat will raise your LDL cholesterol level in the arteries. Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance and is essential for normal cellular structure and function. But excess amount of this waxy substance can cause clogged or blocked arteries. that puts you at a risk of heart attack and stroke! As the blockages build, the blood flow will be restricted and to overcome this restricted blood flow, the heart has to work harder and must increase the pressure to pump blood efficiently.
The result is hypertension, an elevation in Blood pressure, a silent killer!
Though the body can produce 75% of the body cholesterol, and remaining 25% is achieved through the diet, it is obvious that excess saturated & trans fat will elevate the total cholesterol in the blood if consumed in excess!
It is obvious that smart eating strategies will help to control blood pressure.
Low in saturated fats and trans fats ← DASH → Rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein
DASH eating plan is focused on: Incorporating whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils; Emphasizing vegetables, fruits, and fat-free & Low-fat dairy products, and reducing the sodium, sweets, sugary beverages and red meats.
High fiber, low-fat, and low-sodium foods are great help in lowering your blood pressure. Oats, quinoa, barley, amaranth, buckwheat are the whole grains that fits into this category.
Dash guidelines also suggests having more foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Leafy greens like romaine lettuce, turnip greens, spinach, are high in potassium. Foods high in potassium gives you a better ratio of potassium to sodium that help control the blood pressure.
Studies show that flavonoids rich fruits like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries help prevent hypertension.
Potatoes are good source of both potassium and magnesium, the two potential minerals that can help to lower blood pressure. Baked potato with yogurt or tomato & onion salsa for great flavor!
Banana too is an excellent source of potassium, that helps
Nitrates, a natural chemical in beets help bring down the blood pressure. Roasted or steamed beets with spinach is an excellent salad to reap the benefit of this heart friendly chemical.
Calcium rich skim-milk is an excellent source of calcium and low in fat, an ideal food for maintaining blood pressure.
Consume less amount of saturated rich products like butter, whole milk, ice cream, and fatty meats.
Stay away from food that are high in sodium like:
Processed foods like smoked meats, bacon, hot dogs, sausage, bologna, ham and salami
Anchovies, pickles, and sauerkraut
Soy sauce, tomato sauce, vegetable juice and cheese
Bottled salad dressings
Snack foods like chips, crackers, salted nuts.
Individual with hypertension, should abstain from alcohol that help reduce the risk of stroke.
While cooking, it is healthy to replace salt with other seasonings like pepper, garlic, cilantro, basil, parsley and lemon. Spice blends are high in salt. So, try to avoid the ready to use packaged spice blends.
Read labels to understand the sodium contents of the product like:
Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Nitrate, Sodium Citrate, for these chemicals may pose a cancer risk.
Do not purchase food with MSG-Mono sodium glutamate. Mono sodium glutamate, will cause a form of neuro-toxicity. The insidious nature of MSG acts as nerve stimulant that changes the taste buds to taste even the bad food, a real fantastic!
Heart & Stroke Foundation recommends 2,300mg (1tsp/5mL of table salt) sodium a day.
Please click https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/dash_brief.pdf for your guide to lowering blood pressure with DASH
DASH diet is a great way to enjoy food while naturally lowering blood pressure. A little DASH goes a long way!