DASH Diet Explained

dash-diet-explainedWhat is the DASH diet? DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is the DASH diet that is most often recommended by physicians and nutritionists to help control hypertension.

The diet simply includes foods that have been shown to lower high blood pressure while eliminating foods known to contribute to high blood pressure, primarily salt and salty foods.

The DASH diet is not a short-term low sodium diet, but rather a lifelong approach to healthy eating that is designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure. It encourages you to reduce the sodium (salt) in your diet while eating more of foods rich in nutrients that help lower your blood pressure, primarily potassium, calcium and magnesium.

Hypertension patients who follow this diet have been shown to measurably lower their blood pressure in as few as 3-4 weeks, with drastic sustainable improvement for periods over six months of DASH dieting. These visible results and positive health changes explain why the DASH diet is recommended by health professionals Worldwide.

The DASH diet is simple and easy to follow.

Foods that lower blood pressure include fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, and nuts. These foods provide “good” cholesterol, dietary fiber, and negative calories, all components of a well-balanced and healthy diet. Olive oil and avocados are also encouraged as they contain omega-3 fatty acids shown to lower blood pressure.

The first step of the DASH diet is to minimize or eliminate foods that directly contribute to high blood pressure.

Contributors to hypertension include inactivity, excess sodium (salt), excess alcohol, excess body weight, and low magnesium, potassium and calcium. Foods recommended on the DASH diet are also foods that are recommended for weight loss diets. One of the most effective treatments for hypertension is the reduction of excess body weight.

There are two DASH diet sodium levels.

The Standard DASH diet allows up to 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day while the Low Sodium DASH diet allows only 1,500 mg of sodium each day. Both versions of the DASH diet will reduce the amount of sodium in your diet when compared to the typical American diet which can easily include 3,500 or more milligrams of sodium daily.

General guidelines of the Standard DASH diet include.

Eating more vegetables and fruits, replacing refined grains with whole grains, choosing fat-free or low-fat dairy products, more lean protein sources including fish, poultry and beans, cooking with vegetable oils and reducing your intake of foods high in added sugar. Always choose foods that are lower in saturated fats and zero trans fats, rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein and lower in sodium.

The DASH diet can be easily followed using many common foods available at your local grocery store. The DASH diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy foods along with moderate amounts of whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts. Keep it simple and lower your BP!

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