High blood pressure affects one in four adults in the UK. The condition is often branded the “silent killer” because it usually goes undetected until it is serious. Having a high blood pressure reading can raise a person’s risk of developing serious complications such as heart disease. Recognising the warning signs is crucial along with eating the correct foods. This diet has been highly recommended for those with high blood pressure.
The DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and is a lifelong approach to healthy eating that’s designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure.
The DASH diet plan was developed to lower blood pressure without having to take medication.
The DASH diet encourages a person to reduce sodium in their diet and eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such a potassium, calcium and magnesium. If a person eats too much salt, or sodium, in their diet, extra water will be stored in the body and this raises blood pressure.
So, the more salt a person eats, the higher the blood pressure will be. This is why the DASH diet is highly recommended for those suffering with high blood pressure.
The DASH diet emphasises vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy foods with moderate amounts of whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts.
There are two variations to the diet, the standard DASH diet where a person can consume up to 2,300 mg of sodium a day and the lower sodium DASH diet, where a person can consume 1,500 mg of sodium a day.
The American Heart Association recommends 1,500 mg a day of sodium a day for all adults.
The diet recommends whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.
The DASH diet also includes some fish, poultry and legumes, and encourages a small amount of nuts and seeds a few times a week.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation said on their website: “The DASH diet has the greatest effect on blood pressure, lowering levels within two weeks of starting the plan.
“Not only was blood pressure reduced, but total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad cholesterol: were lower too.”
Foods recommended on the DASH diet include vegetables, fruit, grains, lower fat foods, lean meats, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, dry beans and fats and oils.
Following the DASH diet and ensuring at least 150 minutes of exercise a week will ensure blood pressure remains healthy.