As the heart month (February) comes to a close I thank you for being here with me as we talked about everything to do with heart health. We looked at why your heart health is crucial, how to improve and maintain our heart health and now we will look at how to eat healthy to lower blood pressure
DASH is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This diet is both a preventative and curative one that is designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension). Studies indicate that the DASH diet has the capacity to lower blood pressure in as little as two weeks, it can lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL). (I talked about how bad these are here, be sure to read it in case you missed it).
This diet includes foods rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These 3 nutrients are very crucial in controlling blood pressure. Foods rich in saturated fat, added sugars and sodium are limited.
What to eat
The DASH diet is a balanced flexible eating plan aimed at creating a healthy eating style for the heart that is sustainable throughout your life. The diet includes foods rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low or no fat dairy products, nuts and seeds, white meat like fish and poultry. It is important to always choose foods rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, protein, and fiber. Limits foods rich in sodium and saturated fat.
This diet calls for a certain number of daily servings from various food groups of course depending on the number of calories an individual requires daily given their lifestyle. (A dietician can help you ascertain that) however on average here are the recommended servings per day.
Whole Grains – 7-8 daily servings
Fruits – 4-5 daily servings
Vegetables – 4-5 servings
Nuts, seeds, and legumes – 4-5 servings (per week)
Low or fat-free dairy products – 2-3 servings
Meat, poultry – 2 or fewer servings
Sweets – less than 5 servings (per week)
Fats and oils – 2-3 servings
Add more vegetables and dry beans to your diet
Read food labels to choose products that are lower in sodium
Add a serving of vegetables at lunch and at dinner
Replace the full fat or cream with low fat or skim dairy products and have that any time.
In cooperating a fruit to your meals or have it as a snack
DASH diet summary;
- Eat more whole grain foods, fish, poultry and nuts
- Eat more fruits, vegetables and low or fat free dairy products
- Limit sodium, sugary drinks, sweets and red meats
- Cut back on foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol
If you are hypertensive or know someone that is, kindly share this article with them and slowly begin making dietary changes that will guarantee you a more comfortable life. If you need more specialized help in this regard, kindly reach out to a nutritionist/dietician near you or contact me and I will be of help.
Thank you for celebrating heart month with me, I believe many hearts have been saved. Now let us meet in the new month of March. Some like to call it Women’s month.
See you next Wednesday.
2 Replies to “DASH diet. What your heart needs.”
With Uganda having a hypertension prevalence average of around 30% and pre hypertension in the rise… This diet almost becomes an essential part for the entire country.
If we put more focus on prevention especially of non communicable diseases like hypertension, we save both a lot of lives and money in the long run.
Thanks for this insightful article…
Thank you Joseph, focus on NCDs is the key word. Thank you for reading