The goal is to lower blood pressure by limiting the consumption of sodium. This will then reduce risk of hypertension and other associated health risks. It also is a great diet for weight loss.
The DASH diet is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It consists of a balanced diet with the consumption of high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Following this diet will lower the amount of saturated fat, cholesterol and other unwanted fats that come with an unhealthy diet. DASH dieters must also limit consumption of sweets, red meats and processed foods.
The main restriction is salt. This will reduce symptoms of (or avoid) hypertension and lower blood pressure. Eating foods high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium is highly recommended as these all lower blood pressure.
- Only 1,500 mg – 2,300 mg of sodium is allowed per day
- Most carbohydrate foods should come from whole-grains. Examples include: whole whet breads, whole grain cereal, brown rice or whole grain pasta.
- It is required to consume more than two servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Eat them as a snack or as a dessert to one of your 3 major meals.
- There should be 3 servings of low-fat dairy products daily.
- Meat is limited to only 6 ounces a day that should be split up between breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you eat a large portion of meat at a meal, wait a couple days before eating meat again
- Each week, there should be 1-2 meatless days. Try vegetarian protein sources such as beans, legumes, tofu and tempeh. They are lower in cholesterol and fats.
- Since sodium is limited in this diet, one should always check the nutrition facts of products. Check the sodium content and the percent daily value. A 5% daily value is ideal while 20% is considered as a high-sodium source.
Exercise is recommended with DASH diet but isn’t required. The aim of DASH is to regular blood pressure by lowering the amount of fat and sodium in the body. With that, only moderate exercise is done at a comfortable pace. Exercise can be done at least 30 minutes a day at 3 times a week. Examples of moderate exercises are walking, running, cycling and swimming.
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- It is a natural and effective way to provide treatment of high blood pressure and hypertension.
- This diet is approved by many health professionals.
- It does not restrict other food choices than high-sodium foods.
- Overweight people might lose significant amount of weight just by following this diet./li>
- Adjusting to foods without salt (especially if you’re normally a big salt user) might be hard. Foods might taste bland to start. You must learn to experiment with other seasonings for taste.
- The dieter may not follow the diet rules when dining out. Restaurants and fast food meals usually are prepared in good amounts of sodium.