No, we are not talking about some famous Hollywood sisters. The DASH diet or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is a physician recommended, researched and used diet to help lower blood pressure in two weeks.
Today, one out of four Americans (approximately 73 million people) exhibit high blood pressure or hypertension. Blood pressure is the pressure within the artery walls. Hypertension can be defined as a consistent blood pressure elevation. High blood pressure causes the heart to work harder and is the leading cause of heart attack and stroke. Diminishing sodium intake and eating healthy can help you reduce your chances of acquiring hypertension. This is the premise of the DASH diet.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute conducted two studies about this diet. Their findings showed that blood pressure was reduced with a diet low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat and high in fruits and vegetables, fat-free milk products, whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts.
As you can see, more food products are allowed in this diet compared to other commercial diets available. They also recommend diminished, not eliminated, amounts of lean red meat, sweets, added sugars, and sugar-containing beverages. Foodies will not have a hard time adjusting to this diet since it does not completely eliminate common foods in the American pantry.
In the DASH Diet plan, there are recipes and diet plans suggested for a 2,300 mg and 1,500 mg sodium consumption. About 2,300 mg of sodium is recommended by both the National High Blood Pressure Education Program and the United States Dietary Guidelines. And unlike most short term diet plans, the DASH diet also offers tips on how to stay focused on the diet. Think long term.
Although weight loss is not a priority, it is a welcomed consequence since the DASH diet is based on a 2000 calorie per day limit. Some tips on how to further reduce sodium in your diet include:
Read food labels.
- You will be surprised how much sodium can be found in low fat or processed foods.
- No extra salt, please. It is typical for us to add a “dash” of salt when boiling pasta or rice.
- Discover other spices or herbs to replace salt in your usual recipes.
As a tip, a teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium.
It is also best to do this change gradually, since you may experience some detoxification reactions like loss of appetite that may stop you from going through with this diet strategy. Adding some physical exercise and getting appropriate medical supervision is also beneficial.
In conclusion, there are a lot of nutritious but appetizing foods available in the market today. The DASH diet allows a lot of leg room, and its long term benefit is a longer, healthy life. And so, why not try a little DASH in your diet today?