DASH Diet

Diet Approach Stop Hypertension Diet
Changing your eating habits can greatly contribute to lowering your blood pressure. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits and low fat milks can help lower a person's blood pressure. Other factors can also influence a person's blood pressure, such as losing weight (if needed), lowering alcohol intake, limiting sodium intake and exercise.

What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by blood on the walls of the blood vessels. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury and varies between a systolic and diastolic pressure during each heartbeat. Both the systolic and diastolic indicators are important. When blood pressure is high, the heart has to work harder. High blood pressure, hypertension, is a dangerous situation which, if not treated, can cause heart disease, kidney disease or a stroke. Many times high blood pressure is not accompanied by any symptoms and goes unnoticed.

The following can help lower a person's blood pressure: losing weight (if the person is overweight), regular exercising, and a healthy and balanced diet. A balanced diet should only have low-sodium foods and limited alcohol intake. Sometimes, the doctor will prescribe medication to assist in lowering a person's blood pressure. The higher a person's blood pressure is, the more dangerous the situation.

In the past, researchers have checked nutrients such as calcium and magnesium, in order to better understand what influences hypertension. Most studies were done with the help of supplements and the results were inconclusive. When the same study was done on food, rather than supplements, the results were conclusive. This research was called DASH.

This study found that a person can lower his blood pressure with the help a low-fat, high in fruit, vegetables and low-fat milk. The diet should also be rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium, protein and dietary fibers. The diet was not vegetarian and has no special foods.The results showed that patients who followed the DASH diet lowered both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 6 mm of mercury each after just two weeks.

What Nutrients Affect Our Health?

This diet has more servings of vegetables, fruit and grains than the average consumption – making it rich in dietary fibers. This can cause some discomfort and may lead to diarrhea, so it is recommended to slowly add the fruits, vegetables and grains to your diet. The diet is also rich in antioxidants, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Low-Sodium Cooking

Sodium intake is directly connected to high blood pressure, and most people consume more salt than recommended. The latest recommendations stand at 2400 mg, which is 1 teaspoon of salt. Most people won't add this much to food, however, there is a lot of sodium that has been added to processed foods or is found naturally in the food itself. It is important to choose low-sodium foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and limit the intake of processed foods, which are high in sodium. This doesn't mean your food needs to be bland, only that you should use natural spices to spice your food. If you used canned vegetables, rinse them to get rid of the excess salt. Read the packaging labels – they will help you choose foods that are low in sodium.

Low in Fat, Saturated Fat and Cholesterol

A number of studies have shown that reducing a person's fat intake can also reduce blood pressure, while Omega 3 fatty acids can improve your blood pressure. Saturated fat and cholesterol are a threat to the calcification of the arteries and can cause a number of heart diseases. Smaller portions during meal times can also help you lose weight and lower sodium intake. Exercise also helps lower a person's weight – even moderate exercise.