Posted On 22 May 2019
The foods we eat can affect our overall health. A diet rich in harmful elements like saturated fats and cholesterol is a sure way to hypertension and other diseases. On the other hand, the right choice of foods can lessen your risk of acquiring such diseases.
There is a particular eating plan that has been proven to lower hypertension or high blood pressure. This diet is called the DASH or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
What is the DASH diet?
The DASH diet is a result of clinical studies conducted by scientists of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The researchers found out that a diet high in potassium, magnesium, calcium, protein, and fiber, and low in fat and cholesterol can drastically reduce high blood pressure.
The study showed that a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products had a big effect in reducing hypertension. It also showed that the DASH diet produces fast results, sometimes in as little as two weeks after starting the diet.
The DASH diet also emphasizes three important nutrients: magnesium, calcium, and potassium. These minerals are thought to help reduce high blood pressure. A normal 2,000-calorie diet contains 500 milligrams of magnesium, 4.7 grams of potassium and 1.2 grams of calcium.
Doing the DASH Diet
Following the DASH diet is very easy and takes little time in the choice and preparation of meals. Foods rich in fats and cholesterol are avoided. The dieter is advised to eat as many vegetables, fruits, and cereals as possible.
Since the foods you eat in a DASH diet are high in fiber content, it is recommended that you slowly increase your consumption of fiber-rich food to avoid diarrhea and other digestive problems. You can gradually increase your fiber intake by eating an additional serving of fruits and vegetables in every meal.
Grains are also good sources of fiber, as well as the B-complex vitamins and minerals. Whole grains, whole wheat pieces of bread, bran, wheat germ, and low-fat breakfast cereals are some of the grain products you can eat to increase your fiber consumption.
You can choose the food you eat by looking at the product labels of processed and packaged foods. Look for foods that are low in fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol. Meats, chocolates, chips and fast foods are the main sources of fat and cholesterol, so you should reduce your consumption of these foods.
If you decide to eat meat, limit your consumption to only six ounces a day, which is similar in size to a deck of cards. You can also eat more vegetables, cereals, pasta, and beans in your meat dishes. Low-fat milk or skim milk is also a great source of protein without excess fat and cholesterol.
For snacks, you can try canned or dried fruits, as well as fresh ones. There are also healthy snack options for those on the DASH diet such as graham crackers, unsalted nuts, and low-fat yogurt.
It's Easy to DASH
The DASH diet is popular among many health buffs because it doesn't require any special meals and recipes. There are no special preparations and calorie-counting to be considered as long as consume more fruits and vegetables and reduce your intake of fat- and cholesterol-rich foods. The DASH diet is a healthy eating plan that focuses more on the three important minerals that are believed to have a beneficial effect on high blood pressure.
The DASH diet is great for people who prefer convenience and ease in their eating plans. With scientific evidence to back it up, the DASH diet offers a proven and tested diet system for people looking for good health.