DASH diet also called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is a diet plan prescribed for individuals suffering from high blood pressure. DASH diet plan encourages you to reduce sodium and increase whole foods, vegetables, fruits and dairy, fish as well as foods rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium in order to reduce blood pressure.
What is high blood pressure?
Optimal blood pressure levels should be <120/80 mmHg. Levels higher than this amount to high blood pressure. High blood pressure may often not show any symptoms. Uncontrolled levels of blood pressure can increase the risk for kidney disease, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other diseases.
What is the DASH Diet?
DASH diet recommends increased consumption of whole grains, whole pulses, vegetables, fruits, nuts, lean meat, poultry and fish whereas reduced consumption of foods rich in sweets, red meat, sodium and oily foods. It also recommends foods high in protein, fiber and nutrients like potassium, magnesium and calcium in order to regulate blood pressure levels.
Servings to be followed:
Dash diet recommends the following:
- Whole grains: 7-8 servings
- Vegetables and fruits: 4-5 servings each
- Low fat dairy products: 2-3 servings
- Meats, eggs and sea foods: 2 or less than 2 servings
- Sweets: 5 per week
- Salt: 1500-2400mgs of salt (4 grams or 2/3 tsp of table salt)
Additional tips that can be followed:
- Check food labels for fat and sodium content.
- Replace salt with tomato, lemon, ajwain, oregano, and dry spices like cardamom for better aroma and flavor.
- Snack on nuts, vegetable sticks, and whole fruits.
- Limit foods made in brine (pickles and pickled vegetables) and condiments like Monosodium glutamate, soy sauce as they contain good amounts of sodium.
- Limit consumption of processed, packeted, or ready to eat foods as they are often high in sodium.