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The Ultimate DASH Diet To Control Your Blood Pressure

dash diet

If you’re looking for a diet to control or lower your Hypertension, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet (DASH diet) is worldwide ranked as the best one. 

The reason behind this unsurprising ranking is that, unlike other fad diets that are made of extreme food group restrictions without any scientific proof, the DASH diet is made of manageable dietary changes that have proven nutritional proof and are flexible as well. This quality has made the diet well known among dietitians, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. 

Who Is The DASH Diet Helpful to?

Considering that heart diseases are one of the leading reasons for death, this diet and other lifestyle changes might help lower blood pressure in people who suffer from resistant hypertension, where the blood pressure stays elevated in spite of medication. The DASH diet is also a great diet for people with a high risk of heart disease or type 2 diabetes. The diet meets the sodium requirements that help control hypertension.

The diet was developed to help patients lower their high blood pressure (higher than 130/80). The DASH diet focuses on low-fat or fat-free dairy, fish, lean meats, whole foods, like veggies and fruits, whole grains, and poultry. It also requires to restrict red meat as it’s been linked to an increase in the risk of coronary diseases and processed food, such as packaged snacks and sugary drinks. 

The DASH diet is most helpful to people who want to control and lower their blood pressure but is also a great option for people who just want to adopt a healthy diet. Since it focuses on food groups that are low in added sugars and unhealthy fats naturally and in moderate portions. The diet might even lead to weight loss, as it did in a study for people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

The Most Useful Types of the DASH Diet

There is two types of the DASH diet-

  • The Standard DASH diet limits consumption of sodium to 2300mg per day
  • The Lower-Sodium DASH diet limits consumption of sodium to 1500mg per day.

The Average Daily DASH Eating Plan

The average daily dating plan of the DASH diet involves –

  • Grains, possibly whole grain (6-8 servings)
  • Poultry, Fish, and Meant (6 or fewer servings)
  • Veggies (4-5 servings)
  • Fruits (4-5 servings)
  • Fat-free or Low-fat dairy (2-3 servings)
  • Fat or Oils (2-3 servings)

The average daily nutritional plan of the DASH diet involves-

  • Total fat- 6% of calories or less
  • Saturated fat- 6% of calories or less
  • Protein- 18% of calories
  • Carbohydrates- 55% of calories
  • Cholesterol is restricted at 150gm
  • Fiber should be a minimum of 30g or more.

You can choose a DASH diet plan based on your weight loss or maintenance needs. The plan you choose can provide 1200, 1400, 1600, 1800, 2000, 2600, or 3100 calories every day.

DASH Diet Lowering Blood Pressure

The DASH diet lowers blood pressure by limiting both saturated fat and sodium, both of which are not good for heart health. By limiting Sodium, the diet restricts salt since a diet heavy in salt makes the blood pressure rise putting an unnecessary burden on the heart muscle. By restricting Saturated Fat, the diet is restricting the increase of the cholesterol levels since that has the capability of decreasing or completely blocking the blood flow to the heart leading to a stroke or a heart attack. The diet also increases food groups that provide lean protein, fiber, and other nutrients that might lower blood pressure.

3 Days of the Splendid DASH Diet Menu

Here is a typical diet plan for three days that you can follow to stick to the DASH diet that calls for a lot of veggies, fruits, and a moderate source of healthy fats from nuts and fish, lean sources of protein, and whole grains.

  • DAY 1 

Breakfast

  1. 1 wheat bagel+2 tbsp no salt peanut butter
  2. 1 Orange
  3. 1 cup fat-free milk + Decaffeinated coffee

Lunch

  1. Spinach Salad- 4 cups fresh Spinach leaves+1 sliced Pear+½ cup canned mandarin orange+⅓ cup silvered almonds+2 tbsp red wine vinaigrette
  2. 12 reduced-sodium wheat crackers + 1 cup fat-free milk

Snack

  1. 1 cup fat-free, low-calorie yogurt
  2. 4 vanilla wafers

Dinner

  1. 3oz herb-crusted baked cod + ½ cup brown rice pilaf+veggies
  2. ½ cup steamed green beans + 1 small sourdough with 2 tsp olive oil
  3. 1 cup fresh berries with chopped milk + Herbal iced tea
  • DAY 2

Breakfast

  1. 1 cup fresh mixed fruits+1 cup fat-free, low-calorie vanilla-flavored yogurt+⅓ cup walnuts
  2. 1 bran muffin+1 tsp trans-free margarine
  3. 1 cup fat-free milk+Herbal Tea

Lunch

  1. Curried chicken wrap- 1 whole-wheat tortilla+⅔ cup chopped chicken+½ cup chopped apple+1 ½ tbsp light mayonnaise+1/2tsp curry powder
  2. ½ cup raw baby carrots+1 cup fat-free milk

Snack

  1. Trail Mix- ¼ cup Raisinsabout 22 unsalted mini twist pretzels+2 tbsp sunflower seeds

Dinner

  1. 1 cup cooked whole-wheat spaghetti+1 cup marinara sauce, no added salt
  2. 2 cups mixed salad greens+1 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 nectarine+Sparkling Water
  • DAY 3

Breakfast

  1. ¾ cup bran flakes cereal+1 cup low-fat milk
  2. 1 medium banana+1 cup orange juice
  3. 1 slice whole-wheat bread+1 tsp trans-fat-free margarine

Lunch

  1. Tuna Salad- ½ cup drained, unsalted water-packed tuna+2 tbsp light mayo+15 grapes+¼ cup diced celery+2 ½ cups romaine lettuce
  2. 8 Melba toast crackers+1 cup fat-free milk

Snack

  1. 1 cup light yogurt+1 medium peach

Dinner

  1. Beef and vegetable kebab- 3oz beef+1 cup peppers, onions, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes
  2. 1 cup cooked wild rice
  3. ⅓ cup pecans=1 cup pineapple chunks
  4. Cran-raspberry spritzer- 4oz cran-raspberry juice+4-8oz sparkling water

Pros And Cons To Following the DASH Diet

PROS of the DASH dietCONS of the DASH diet
The diet is easy to follow and offers a nutritious variety in the dietary restrictions making it sustainable as a lifelong dietary choice. The amount of Fiber that the diet asks to eat might be a little troubling for people to adjust to.
The diet can help lower high blood pressure and thus lower the risk of certain heart diseases, which will also help improve the other organs that work harder when the heart is not strong.The diet might not be suitable for patients with chronic liver or kidney disease, chronic heart failure, lactose intolerant patients.
The diet might help manage Type 2 Diabetes better and also in losing weight.The diet is not particularly designed to lose weight, so it doesn’t outline a specific way to do that.

Short And Long-Term Effects of The DASH Diet

The DASH diet is a sustainable, healthy eating plan and a practical plan for lowering and controlling blood pressure and losing weight in the short and long term. It has been observed that following the standard diet for only a month led to 18% lower heart injury, 13% lower heart inflammation and 20 % lower heart injury, 23% lower heart strain when following the lower-sodium diet.

The diet continues to benefit heart health if you keep up with it in the long run.