The DASH Diet For Hypertension
As its name suggests the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet is not a specific diet in the sense that it provided you with a meal plan, but is an approach which you should adopt when planning your meals.
The focus of the DASH diet, which is supported by both The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the The American Heart Association, lies in looking at foods which you should be eating to ensure that you get a healthy and balanced diet and a diet which will maintain (or if necessary reduce) your weight. The DASH diet also helps you to control your intake of salt (sodium).
The DASH diet is built on the principle that the basis of your diet should be a wide range of fruit and vegetables and that these should be supplemented with a small quantity of low fat dairy products.
Fruit and vegetables form an excellent base for your diet because both have a high water content and are low in calories. As a result, you do not need to eat large quantities of either in order to feel full and even if eaten in relatively large quantities they do not have a high calorific value.
In addition, both fruit and vegetables provide you with your necessary daily intake of fiber as well as the vitamins and minerals which are essential to keeping you healthy.
The addition of low fat dairy products also provides necessary vitamins and minerals such as calcium, which is necessary for maintaining healthy bone growth.
But there is more to the DASH diet than simply eating fruit, vegetables and low fat dairy products and, while these should be added into your diet, you can of course also eat a wide variety of other foods as long as you pick those foods with care.
Here are just a few things to think about when putting together your own personal DASH diet for high blood pressure:
- Eat fresh fish, poultry and lean meat in preference to canned, smoked or processed alternatives.
- Eat moderate portions and, if you find it necessary to snack between meals, then choose fruit or vegetable sticks. If you can't resist other snacks then try to limit yourself to such things as popcorn (unbuttered and unsalted) and bread sticks.
- Cut back on convenience foods such as frozen dinners, pizza and canned soups and, if you do eat these, then choose brands which are low in sodium.
- Always start the day with breakfast. A good choice might be a low sodium breakfast cereal with added fruit. Also try adding fresh fruit juice to your cereal, rather than milk. If you do want to use milk then use skimmed milk or, if you really don't like skimmed milk, then use only as much low fat or semi-skimmed milk as necessary.
- Cook noodles, rice and pasta without salt and try to avoid quick cook rice and instant noodles.
- Buy fresh or frozen vegetables and avoid canned alternatives which are often canned in brine. If you buy canned cooked vegetables look for low sodium varieties and, if these are canned in water, rinse them thoroughly before use.
- Cut back on all forms of fast food and on processed foods.
- Add flavor to your food by replacing salt with such things as herbs and spices.
The DASH diet for hypertension gives you a great deal of freedom in planning your diet and you certainly are not limited greatly in the foods from which you can choose. Simply remember to use fruit and vegetables as the basis of your diet and build upon that and you cannot go far wrong.
More about blood pressure...
Salt and High Blood Pressure
Foods that Lower High Blood Pressure
A Knowledge Of Blood Pressure Ranges Will Help Keep You Healthy