Blood pressure is known to fluctuate throughout the day. When blood pressure on artery walls resume at a high level over time it causes arteries to harden and forces the heart to work extra hard to pump blood. This is high blood pressure, or hypertension (anything over 120/80 mmHg).
Out of thirty-eight diet plans, the DASH Diet has been ranked as the “Best Overall Diet" by the US News & World Report of 2015 for the sixth year in a row. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute helped to develop the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet which was created to help prevent and decrease hypertension. After much research, the DASH Diet has been found to reduce the risk of numerous diseases: stroke, heart disease, some cancers, heart failure, diabetes, and kidney stones.
The DASH diet consists of whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, nuts, poultry, plant-based protein, and fish. It focuses on 2,000 calories/day, low sodium (1500-2300 mg/day), and is rich in fiber, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. DASH Diet cuts out the food that the usual “American” diet consists of: red meat, added fat, processed foods, and sugary sweets. Be sure to include physical activity along with your diet as research has found the DASH Diet plus weight loss and exercise to produce a greater drop in blood pressure compared to dieting alone.
**Speak with you doctor about your blood pressure medication if interested in the DASH Diet plan.
● Low-fat or Fat-Free Dairy Products (2-3 servings/day)
● Fruits (4-5 servings/day)
● Vegetables (4-5 servings/day)
● Fish/Lean Meat/Poultry (6 oz/day or less)
● Whole Grains (7-8 servings/day)
● Nuts/Beans/Legumes (4-5 servings/week)
● Fats & Oils (2-3 servings/day)
● Sweets (5/week or less)
Consumption of these large servings may be a little overwhelming at first, but ease into this diet as you should any other. Gradually increasing your servings will come easier than drastically changing your diet all at once.