The DASH diet is a simple diet to follow. It has a host of health benefits. This article explains how to follow the DASH diet lucidly.
The DASH diet can help create a heart-healthy eating style for life since it is a flexible and balanced eating plan. The dash diet is nothing but a typical dinner consisting of baked potato, lean meat, and many vegetables.
The DASH diet will help lower blood pressure and improve the lipid profile, therefore favoring the heart. It also helps to lose weight, something that many people in the modern era aim for, yet only a few succeed. Even if a person does not have high blood pressure, the diet is worth looking at and suitable to be followed in a regular diet. It is not just a diet pattern; it is a way of life.
Normal blood pressure for adults is:
Systolic pressure - below 120 mmHg
Diastolic pressure - below 80 mmHg.
A blood pressure when more than 140/90 mmHg is considered to be high blood pressure.
The DASH diet can reduce blood pressure in both healthy individuals and those with high blood pressure.
When people limit their sodium intake along with the DASH diet, it has lowered blood pressure even further. Therefore, the most significant reductions in blood pressure were seen in people who consume low salt.
The low-salt DASH diet can reduce the systolic blood pressure by 12 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg in people who already have high blood pressure.
And in people with normal blood pressure, it had reduced systolic blood pressure by 4 mmHg and diastolic by 2 mmHg.
Blood pressure can be lowered in just 14 days, even if a person does not reduce sodium intake. Dash diet has shown the best result in people who came with moderately high blood pressure and prehypertension states. For people with very severe hypertension, who may not eliminate medication, it can help improve the response to Antihypertensive medicines and lower the blood pressure. The DASH diet, along with weight loss and exercise, can help lower cholesterol levels, reduce insulin resistance, and the risk of developing diabetes.
The DASH diet is a rich source of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, poultry, and fish. It limits high saturated fats, like fatty meats, egg yolk, and full-fat dairy products.
People with a DASH diet should choose foods that are:
Rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and protein.
Low in saturated fat.
Low in sodium.
It includes the following 8 simple steps:
Cut on Your Salt Intake: Intake of too much salt can put your heart under pressure as fluid retention increases secondary to the salt intake. So choose homemade foods, and you can therefore control salts. Try to choose items in the diet that are low in their inherent salt content. This should not include pickles, smoked, or cured foods.
Step Up On the Grains: Eat whole grains like whole-wheat bread, whole-grain cereals, brown rice, oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, unsalted pretzels, and popcorn. This can increase the fiber content of the diet, thereby lowering the cholesterol level and making you feel full of cutting on those mid-meal snacks.
Increasing the Content of Fruits and Vegetables in The Diet: This can help improve the vitamins and minerals in your diet, including the potassium and magnesium in the fruits, which can help lower blood pressure. In fruits and vegetables, the calories are primarily low, and the inherent fluid content is high. They also contain fiber, and for those with a sweet tooth, fruits like bananas can be great to satisfy their craving. This also brings in the ideal point of restricting sweets. One does not have to avoid them altogether, but moderation is advisable. And the use of fruits to satisfy that craving is a good idea.
Potassium In Diet: Potassium derived from foods like bananas, sweet potato, and spinach can help to lower blood pressure. People on potassium-sparing medicines should be cautious while having high potassium diets.
Good Old Yogurt: Yogurts with "low fat" are rich in protein, calcium, and probiotics. They improve nutrition while bringing down blood pressure. And yogurt is also known to reduce acidity.
Nuts and Legumes: They contain proteins and fibers that help to lower the risk of heart disease. Nuts and legumes are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, so taking a modest intake of walnuts helps reduce the risk of heart illnesses.
Avoid Fats and Oils: Essential vegetable oils like olive oil should be preferred over agents like butter. Limit the usage of egg yolk. And people who have a non-vegetarian diet should prefer lean meat, skinless chicken, and fish.
The DASH diet weight loss solution benefits people who carry their excess weight around the middle or have metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), or postmenopausal weight gain.
The other benefits of the DASH diet are:
Decreases Cancer Risk: It has been proved that people following the DASH diet have lowered the risk of acquiring certain cancers, like colorectal and breast cancer.
Lowers Diabetes Risk: Some studies demonstrate that a DASH diet can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and improve insulin resistance.
Lowers Metabolic Syndrome Risk: According to a study, the DASH diet can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome by up to 81%.
Decreases Heart Disease Risk: In one recent study in women, a DASH-like diet has lowered the risk of heart disease by 20 percent and the risk of stroke by 29 percent.
As one can see, this pattern of diet is not tough to follow. 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. The changes can vary depending on your body type, general activity, and other associated medical conditions, but you will surely notice an improvement.
Last reviewed at:
15 Sep 2021 - 4 min read
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