The DASH diet helps lower blood pressure and improves your lipid profile and therefore is in favour of your heart. It would also help you lose weight, something that many people in the modern era strive for, yet only few attain. Even if you do not have these conditions, the diet is not only worth a look but suitable for following regularly. It is not just a diet pattern; it’s a way of life.
It includes the following 8 simple steps:
- Cut on your salt intake. Too much salt entering your body puts a pressure on your heart as fluid retention increases secondary to the salt intake. So choose foods that are homemade and you can therefore control salts. This of course excludes pickles, smoked or cured foods. And choose items in diet that are low in their inherent salt content.
- Step up on the grains. Eat whole grains like whole wheat breads, brown rice, whole grain cereals, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, unsalted pretzels and popcorn. This step up increases your fiber content, thereby lowering your cholesterol and giving you that filling feeling so as to cut on those mid meal snacks.
- Increase the content of fruits and vegetables in your diet. This way you can increase the vitamins and minerals in your diet, inclusive of potassium and magnesium in the fruits which help lower the blood pressure. The calories are mostly few. And the inherent fluid content is high. And let’s not forget the fiber content in these fruits and vegetables. And for those with a sweet tooth, fruits like bananas can be great to suffice that craving.
- This also brings in the ideal point of restrict the sweets. One does not have to avoid them completely but moderation is advisable. And use of fruits to satisfy that craving is a good idea.
- Potassium in diet. Potassium obtained from foods like sweet potato, bananas and spinach help lower the blood pressure. Of course the people on potassium sparing medicines should be careful when they have high potassium diets.
- Good old yogurt. It has the buzz words in each scoop full - “low fat”. And it’s a rich source of protein, calcium and those famous probiotics. They enrich the nutrition while bringing down the blood pressure. And yogurt is also known to reduce acidity.
- Have nuts and legumes. These are good source of proteins, fibers and they help lower the risk of heart disease. Being a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, a modest intake of walnuts will help lower the risk of heart illnesses.
- Cut on fats and oils. Now that is something that is not new to anyone today. When absolutely essential, vegetable oils like olive oil should be preferred over agents like butter. Limit egg yolk. And for people who like non-vegetarian diet - lean meat,skinless chicken and fish should be preferred.
As one can see, this pattern of diet is not tough to follow. In fact it allows a certain level of flexibility by allowing you to choose the food items you like. There is no 'strict no' in this plan of diet. Maintain a food diary where you record your goals daily. And start making those small changes. Depending on your body type, general activity and other associated medical conditions, the changes can vary. But you will sure to notice an improvement.