Approximately one in every three American adults has high blood pressure, which puts these 68 million people at risk for a stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, and congestive heart failure, which is nothing to laugh at. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is designed as a healthy way to lower your risk of high blood pressure or lower high blood pressure for those who suffer from it. This eating plan focuses on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and low sodium foods, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Learn how to get started on this balanced and flexible eating plan today to help you prevent getting high blood pressure.
Step 1: The DASH diet includes foods commonly found in the grocery store and daily servings from the various food groups. Daily calorie needs determine the recommended number of servings. When beginning DASH, make the dietary changes over several days or weeks. This provides ample time for your body to adjust to the changes and for you to incorporate them into your daily routine.
Step 2: You can continue to take medicine that controls high blood pressure but inform your doctor that you are on the DASH eating plan. Consider your level of physical activity and your age to determine calorie needs. To maintain a current weight, consume only as many calories as are burned during physical activity. To lose weight, consume fewer calories than are burned or increase your level of physical activity to burn more calories than are consumed. If you stray from this diet, make small changes so you can begin it again. Mark goal achievement by doing something enjoyable rather than consuming food.
Step 3: If you currently consume one to two servings of vegetables each day, add one serving with lunch and another serving with dinner. Add one serving of fruit to one meal each day or enjoy it as a snack.
Step 4: For most of the grain servings, select whole-grain foods like whole-grain cereals or whole wheat bread.
Step 5: Consume three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk or milk products each day.
Step 6: Eat no more than six ounces of lean meats daily, consuming only three ounces per meal. If you typically consume meat in large portions, cut back by one-third or one-half at each meal over a couple of days.
Step 7: Replace at least two meals per week with meatless or vegetarian-style versions.
Step 8: Compare sodium content of foods by reading Nutrition Facts labels. Select foods containing less than five percent of daily value of sodium. Be aware that foods containing 20 percent or more of daily value of sodium are classified as high-sodium.