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The DASH Diet – Your Guide to Weight Loss and Lowering Blood Pressure

 

High blood pressure (hypertension) will affect 9 out of 10 Americans in their lifetime.  The good news is that 35-65% of hypertension is preventable with the proper diet, exercise, and sleep habits.  Following the DASH diet is a natural way you can normalize your blood pressure and prevent the development of hypertension.  Although the DASH diet on its own has been proven to drastically reduce blood pressure, when combined with limited sodium consumption the diet plan was found to be as successful as medicine used to treat hypertension.  We will take a look at the DASH diet’s health benefits that go beyond lowering your blood pressure.

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is a nutrition plan rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, fibre, and protein.  These key nutrients that fight off hypertension can be found in all the foods you’ve always been told to eat: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, and lean meat.  Foods to avoid while on the DASH diet include calorie-rich sweets and red meat.  So what does the DASH diet look like?  Based on a 2000 calorie day, here is a breakdown of the recommended proportions of each food group:

Fruits: 4-5 servings per day.  One serving of fruit is equal to 1 medium sized fruit (such as an apple or orange), half a cup of frozen or canned fruit, a quarter cup of dried fruit, or a half cup of fruit juice.

Vegetables: 4-5 servings per day.  One serving of vegetables equates to one cup of small leafy greens, half a cup of other vegetables, or half a cup of vegetable juice.

Whole Grains: 7-8 servings per day.  One serving of grains is equal to half a cup of 100% whole-grain pasta or brown rice, half a cup of hot cereal (such as oatmeal), one cup of dry cereal, or one slice of bread.

Low-Fat Dairy: 2-3 servings per day.  You can get one serving of dairy from one cup of milk, yogurt, fresh cheese, or soy beverage.

Fats and Oils: 2-3 servings per day.  One serving is equivalent to one tablespoon of mayonnaise or salad dressing, or one teaspoon of margarine or vegetable oil.

Sweets: Under 5 servings per week.  Limit your sugar intake to less than 5 servings a week.  One serving is equal to 1 tablespoon of sugar or jam, or a half cup of sorbet or lemonade.

Salt:  1.2 g per day.  Try to limit your sodium to 1.2 to 2.4 g a day, which is about a half teaspoon to a full teaspoon of salt.  Reading food labels can help you track your sodium intake and can help you stay within the limit.

Following the DASH nutrition plan can help lower your cholesterol, take inches off your waistline, and lower your blood pressure.  Hypertensive individuals who went on the low-sodium DASH diet had a 11.5 mmHg drop in systolic blood pressure, on average.  Most importantly, maintaining a healthy diet plays a crucial role in normalizing your blood pressure.  If you need help in monitoring your estimated blood pressure from home, Health Gauge has you covered and gives wellness advice targeted to your unique health and wellness journey.

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