Basics of DASH Diet: How to Lower Your Blood Pressure with Food

We all know the dangers brought by high blood pressure in the body, especially when this happens on a regular basis. But did you know that food can help lower your blood pressure? Try the DASH diet!

Benefits of DASH Diet

While some might say that their body is used to the high blood pressure and that this is ‘normal’ to them, that’s actually not the case. Continued high blood pressure makes you at risk of other health complications because this weakens your arteries and could affect important organs in your body, including your heart.

The DASH diet was created to help manage your blood pressure through food. ‘DASH’ actually stands for ‘Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension’. What’s great about this medically inspired diet is that it does not only lower your blood pressure but also brings other benefits, including weight loss and prevention of diabetes as well as other health conditions.

What to Eat in DASH Diet?

Many diet trends these days encourage eating fats, with less vegetables. But the DASH diet emphasizes healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products.

You can eat as much as 6 to 8 servings of grains in a day. But it would be best to focus on whole grains for more nutrients and fiber.

A lot of people only eat vegetables as a side dish. But in the DASH diet, you are encouraged to eat 4 to 5 servings a day. You can have your fill of green leafy vegetables or even starchy ones like potatoes. In preparing vegetable dishes, try to keep the meat to a minimum or don’t any, if you can.

If using canned vegetables, check to make sure you pick the low sodium option.

What to Minimize or Avoid in DASH Diet?

Take note that fat is still necessary because it helps the body’s immune system work properly. It also helps in absorbing essential vitamins. But too much fat is not good. Keep fat intake to a minimum and make sure to avoid trans fat that’s often found in fried foods and processed items.

You can also eat red meat and sweets. But like fat, do it only in small amounts.

Surprisingly, the DASH diet does not limit coffee intake. While some people experience a rise in blood pressure after drinking coffee, this appears to be temporary. But if you think coffee is affecting your blood pressure, it’s a good idea to just avoid it.

Alcohol should also be avoided as much as possible. Moreover, since increased sodium intake is associated with increase in blood pressure, keep salts away. Try other spices to make food yummy without adding a lot of salt.