If you’re suffering hypertension, you have probably been instructed to change your diet. In fact, research has consistently demonstrated that high blood pressure can be affected and successfully managed through the integration of a proper diet only. The DASH diet was specifically designed to lower the blood pressure in a natural way – it’s an eating plan that incorporates a wide variety of whole foods, lots of vegetables and fruits, and lean meats and poultry. Another key aspect of the eating plan is that it’s generally very low in sodium – an element that’s been consistently associated with heightened risk of hypertension.
The DASH Diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was developed a few years ago and voted one of the best diets to lower blood pressure by a vast number of health experts. In fact, just a few years ago, the dietary plan was even selected as the best overall diet by a scientific panel chosen by the US News and World Report. The DASH study involved almost 460 adults, assigned to two eating plans. The adults in the DASH group received a lower sodium intake – around 1,500 milligrams per day – and showed significantly reduced blood pressure at the end of the trial.
The DASH diet works by providing you with a varied and healthy eating plan, consisting of lots of fruits and vegetables, combined with low-fat dairy products, lean meats, nuts and beans, and whole grains. It includes a reduced amount of red meats, sodium-rich foods, sweets and sweet-containing beverages, all of which have been correlated with increased blood pressure. The dietary plan also limits the consumption of egg yolks, since they’re rich in cholesterol. It’s very efficient when it comes to managing hypertension, as the diet plan is generally low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Also, the protein that comes from the fish and lean meats and the minerals and fibers control the blood sugar and cholesterol levels. The elevated cholesterol levels people experience are usually associated with increased consumption of sweets or processed foods, rich in salt – the DASH diet strives to lower that amount as much as possible in order to keep your blood pressure on track. In addition, the fats included in the plan are predominantly unsaturated, instead of the saturated and trans fat, which have been associated with heightened risks of cardiovascular disease.
The eating plan can easily be tailored to your specific calorie needs, depending on your age and physical activity. Generally, the DASH plan is suited for a caloric intake of around 2,000 calories per day, but can be modified to lower calories, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
The DASH eating plan is easy to follow and, as it’s generally low in saturated fats and salt, it can reduce your risk of hypertension, as well as successfully manage the symptoms, if you’re already suffering from it. Research consistently demonstrates that following the DASH diet results in lowered cholesterol levels and improved overall health and general well-being.