Low-Sodium Diet, HealthFuel

DASH Diet and Hypertension a Great Benefits

DASH Diet and Hypertension

The DASH Diet plan, aka “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension,” is a common-sense diet that focuses on a low-sodium diet. Unlike the popular low-carbohydrate and high-protein diets, the DASH Diet is not a fad diet.

The DASH Diet is one way to change your diet for life, not just for the next three months. A low-sodium diet like the DASH Diet is moderate and can be sustained over long periods of time.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is a dietary pattern that has been specifically designed to help lower blood pressure, which is a key risk factor for hypertension. Studies have shown that following the DASH diet can lead to significant reductions in blood pressure, even in individuals with hypertension.

The DASH Diet

The DASH diet for Hypertension recommends that people

  1. eat less sodium and
  2. eat certain foods.

According to National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the combination of these two activities can result in lowering blood pressure.

DASH diet for Hypertension, DASH Diet and Hypertension

Lowering blood pressure with the DASH diet, or a similar low-sodium diet can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, heart failure, kidney failure, and stroke. (NHLBI)

It’s important to note that the DASH diet was developed by the US National Institutes of Health.

My Low-Sodium Diet

Because high blood pressure is hereditary in my family, I have always kept a close watch on my blood pressure. At one point my blood pressure was creeping up to a not-so-healthy level. Because I did want to start taking any blood pressure medication, like both my parents do, I started lowering my sodium intake.

Prior to following a low-sodium diet, I would only look at the fat and calorie information on nutrition labels. Now I read all labels more thoroughly, paying special attention to the sodium count. Even foods that are all-natural or otherwise seem healthy can carry a large sodium content per serving.

By lowering my sodium intake, and continuing with regular exercise, I was able to lower my blood pressure back to a healthy range and keep it there. Even during a stressful pregnancy, I managed to keep my blood pressure at a healthy level.

Another added benefit is that food is more tasty and enjoyable when you can actually taste the food, not just the salt. Read also the fastest way to lose weight

Eating a low-sodium diet has been a successful way to take a preventive approach against having to take prescription blood pressure medication.

Starting a Low-Sodium Diet

The easiest way to start and maintain a low-sodium diet like the DASH diet for Hypertension is to eat foods in their most natural state. This means adding fresh fruits and vegetables, minimally processed grains, and fresh and local meat products and seafood to a diet.

A low-sodium diet is best achieved by vastly reducing the amount of processed foods in your freezer, refrigerator, and your pantry. Many convenient foods, including frozen dinners and canned soups, are loaded with high sodium content.

By making most of your own meals you can easily follow a low-sodium diet.

Starting the DASH Diet Menu Plan

The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein sources, and nuts and seeds. It is low in saturated and trans fats, red meat, sweets, and sugary beverages. The combination of nutrient-dense foods and the reduction in sodium intake (the DASH diet recommends no more than 2,300 mg per day) can help to lower blood pressure. Nih

According to the NHLBI, The DASH Diet focuses on eating foods from these healthy food groups:

  1. fruits
  2. fish
  3. low-fat dairy products
  4. nuts
  5. poultry
  6. whole grain products
  7. vegetables
Low-Sodium Diet
Low-Sodium Diet

Also in the DASH diet are “limited” amounts of

  1. red meat
  2. sweets
  3. food with added sugars
  4. drinks with added sugars

Dash diet benefits

In addition to its blood pressure-lowering effects, the DASH diet has been shown to have numerous other health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The diet is also associated with improved weight management, better cholesterol levels, and improved overall nutrition.

When following the DASH diet for Hypertension, people need to try to stick to foods that are

  • low in cholesterol
  • have a low-saturated fat content
  • are low total fat content

Overall, the DASH diet is a healthy, balanced approach to eating that can be effective in preventing and managing hypertension, as well as promoting overall health and wellness.

Low-Sodium and Healthy Food Options

Low-sodium diets like the DASH diet are as restrictive as fad diets. With a low-sodium diet like the DASH diet, the focus is on eating the healthiest and most nutritious foods from the different food groups.

1. Lean, trim, and skinless Meats and DASH

According to the NHLBI, lean, trim, and skinless meats are healthy choices. How these meats are cooked also comes into play. Any method which sears away the fat, including roasting, broiling, or grilling is preferred to frying or any method where the melted fats cannot drop away from the food.

2. Spices Not Salt and DASH

One way to follow a low-sodium diet is to take the salt shaker away and replace it with real flavorful spices. If you don’t know where to begin, Mrs. Dash has a line of no-sodium spices that can help. Start with those and then pick out any flavors you may like. Stock your spice shelf with flavor, not sodium.

2. Nutrient-Rich Greens and Other Vegetables and the DASH Diet

Add nutrient-rich greens to a low-sodium diet. The NHLBI suggests carrots, green beans, green peas, Kale, spinach, and sweet potatoes.

3. Whole Grains

Carbohydrates are required for energy and are not restricted. Be sure to pick whole grains, whole wheat brown rice over white rice, and unsalted snack foods.

low carb dash diet meal plan

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is primarily focused on reducing blood pressure, but it can be adapted to a low-carb approach. While the traditional DASH diet emphasizes whole grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables, you can modify it to reduce carbohydrate intake while still incorporating the principles of the DASH diet. Here’s a sample low-carb DASH diet meal plan:

Breakfast:

  • Scrambled eggs with spinach, mushrooms, and feta cheese
  • Sliced avocado
  • A side of fresh berries

Snack:

  • Celery sticks with almond butter

Lunch:

  • Grilled chicken breast
  • Mixed green salad with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and olive oil vinaigrette
  • Steamed broccoli

Snack:

  • Greek yogurt with a handful of mixed nuts

Dinner:

  • Baked salmon with lemon and dill
  • Steamed asparagus
  • Cauliflower rice pilaf with sautéed onions and garlic

Snack:

  • Sliced bell peppers with hummus

Remember, the goal is to reduce carbohydrate intake while still emphasizing nutrient-dense foods. Adapt the portion sizes according to your individual needs and consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to personalize the meal plan based on your specific requirements.

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