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DASH Diet for Hypertension

People suffering from high blood pressure often look for ways to control and improve their blood pressure levels. Doctors usually recommend a specific diet called DASH diet for such people that helps in bringing down the high blood pressure. DASH diet for hypertension provides a complete meal plan about what to include and what to exclude in the diet.

DASH diet was put forth by a clinical study called, “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension” and so the name of the diet. This clinical research study was done by the funds provided by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) along with the support of the Office of Research on Minority Health and National Center for Research Resources. The diet was built in such a way that it helped lower high blood pressure and even helped to control and prevent blood pressure from rising.

The DASH diet includes a wide range of fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products and fatty foods low in total and saturated fats. It is high in fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium, moderately high in protein and low in cholesterol. The diet was set is such a way that it provided a person with 2,000 calories a day.

Following is the DASH diet sample table that you may find helpful and is built based on 2,000 calories a day.

 

Food Group

 

Daily Servings

Serving Size

 

Food Examples

Food Importance in DASH Diet

Whole grains and grain products

 

7 -8

 

Bread – 1 slice

Dry cereal – ½ cup

Cooked rice, cereal or pasta – ½ cup

Cereals, Whole bread, pita, muffins, oatmeal, grits

Energy and fiber sources

Fruits

 

4 – 5

Fruit juice – 6 oz

Fresh fruit – 1 medium sized

Dried fuit – ¼ cup

Canned and frozen fruit – ½ cup

 

Bananas, apricots, oranges, dates, mangoes, grapefruit, peaches, melons, prunes, pineapples, raisins, tangerines and strawberries

Fiber, magnesium and potassium sources

Vegetables

4 – 5

Raw leafy vegetable – 1 cup

Cooked vegetable – ½ cup

Vegetable juice – 6 oz

Potatoes, tomatoes, peas, carrots, broccoli, squash, collards, green turnips, spinach, kale, beans, sweet potatoes, artichokes

Fiber, magnesium and potassium sources

Poultry, meat and fish

2 or less

Cooked poultry, meat or fish – 3 oz

Skinless poultry birds, lean meats, boiled or roasted

Rich magnesium and protein sources

Non-fat or low fat foods

2 – 3

Milk – 8 oz

Yogurt – 1 cup

Cheese – 1.5 oz

Skimmed milk, low fat buttermilk, low fat or non-fat yogurt, non-fat or mozzarella cheese

Rich protein and calcium sources

Legumes, seeds and nuts

4 – 5 per week

Legumes – ½ cup cooked

Seeds – 2 tbsp or ½ oz

Nuts – 1/3 cup or 1.5 oz

Lentils, kidney beans, sunflower seeds, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, mixed nuts, almonds

Rich fiber, protein, potassium, magnesium and energy sources

 

How to Adopt the DASH Diet Plan?

Adopting the DASH diet plan is very easy and helps you quickly to get rid of hypertension condition. Here are some ways that help you to change gradually to the DASH diet

  • If you have the habit of eating one to two vegetables a day, then on DASH diet eat one at lunch and the other at dinner.
  • If you take only fruit juice at breakfast and do not eat fruit, then add the fruit to your meals or take it as a snack.
  • Increase the intake of low-fat and fat-free milk products to 3 servings a day. Instead of sweetened tea, alcohol or soda, take milk after having lunch or dinner.
  • Know the labels of the nutrients present on food products and choose only the low trans fats and low saturated fats.

The DASH diet for hypertension does not limit you that much from any foods and thus, gives you a great freedom in planning your type of diet. Just remember to use all the foods mentioned for a DASH diet so that you cannot miss them out.

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