Living with high blood pressure (or hypertension) is anything but easy. It impacts the individual in more than one way. The good part? You can ease your hypertension with DASH - Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
This dietary program helps lower blood pressure and improve your lipid profile, and therefore is in favor of your heart. One positive takeaway from DASH is that even if you do not suffer from hypertension, you can still reap its health benefits.
Read here the 6 steps of DASH diet, and learn a new and healthy way of eating:
1. Cut on your salt intake
DASH diet aims at reducing your sodium intake and helps in controlling the blood pressure. This means that you should try to keep your daily salt intake up to 1500mg.
2. Step up on the grains
This program involves loads of whole grains. So, stock up your kitchen pantry with whole grain foods such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain cereals, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, unsalted pretzels, and popcorn. This step up increases fiber content in your body, thereby keeping your mid-meal hunger pangs at bay and lowering your cholesterol too.
3. Increase fruit and vegetable intake
Vegetable and fruits such as tomatoes, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, melons, mangoes, peaches, pineapples, strawberries, etc. increase vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and fiber levels in your body. These healthy components aid in lowering blood pressure.
4. Indulge in the good old yogurt
It’s a rich source of protein, calcium, and probiotics. Yogurt enriches nutrition in a body while bringing down the blood pressure. It is also known to reduce acidity. You can also include fat-free milk and cheese to ensure the balanced quantity of protein and calcium in your diet.
5. Have nuts and legumes
Small servings of nuts and legumes such as almonds, walnuts, peanuts, kidney beans, lentils, and peas provide a good amount of protein, magnesium, and fiber. These rich sources of energy help lower the risk of heart disease and protect against cancer as well.
6. Satisfy sweet-tooth gently
Counting calories is another way to lower blood pressure. However, you don’t need to curb your sweet cravings all the time. Just go easy on your sweet tooth by choosing from a tablespoon of fat-free sorbets, fruit punch, or fruit jelly. Only remember that added sugar is never going to add any nutritional value to your body, it will merely add calories.
DASH diet is not a regular weight-loss program, it is a way of life. It promotes healthy eating whilst keeping the eating pattern simple and flexible. With reduced sodium-intake diet and an active lifestyle, you can live a heart-healthy life, whether suffering from hypertension or not.
Dr. Vishesh Rohatgi is a Cardiologist and Head of the Medical Content team. He is an extensive reader and writer. He has a special interest in doing social service and is working with different NGOs in his hometown. His articles have been published in various national and international journals.