Dash Diet & Heart Health: Healthy Eating To Lower Your Blood Pressure

DASH standing for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is a diet plan approach to treat hypertension and prevent high blood pressure. DASH diet is a flexible plan which helps you follow a balanced eating routine with no special food requirements. It incorporates regular food to complete daily and weekly nutritional needs. US News and World Report sanctioned DASH diet to be the best way to combat low blood pressure as compared to any other anti-hypertension medication. The diet primarily includes plenty of green and leafy vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, vegetable oil, nuts and seeds, proteins. It also aims to reduce sodium intake to only 1,500-2,500 mg a day. Additionally, there are two types of DASH diet plans:

  1. The standard DASH diet: This diet allows sodium consumption of 2,300 milligrams per day.
  2. The lower sodium DASH diet: This diet allows sodium consumption of 1,500 milligrams per day.

DASH Diet Plan– Mentioned below is the dash diet food list along with the serving size to help you plan your routine better. 

  • Grains
  1. 6 to 8 servings per day.
  2. Grains will include bread, pasta, rice, and cereal. It is recommended to focus more on whole grains as they have more fiber content and nutrients as compared to refined grains. One serving of grain, for example, can include a slice of bread, a small cup of cereal, or ½ a cup of rice or pasta.
  • Vegetables
  1. 5 to 6 servings per day.
  2. Eat vegetables which are high in fibers, minerals, and nutrients like tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, peas, sweet potatoes, etc. You can have them as salads or as main dishes as well, along with some rice or wheat noodles. Do not buy canned vegetables as they have high sodium content.

3. Fats and Oils 

  • 2 to 3 servings a day.
  • Too much fat and oil can increase the cholesterol level and the risk of heart diseases, obesity, and diabetes. DASH diet aims to consume only 30% daily calories from fat and oil. Incorporate monosaturated fats into your diet which are healthier and avoid fried and bakery items. It can be helpful to read the food label before buying the item to know the fat content.

4. Dairy

  • 2 to 3 servings a day.
  • Choose low-fat dairy products to complete the requirement of calcium, vitamin D and protein. One serving can include 1 cup low fat skimmed milk, 1 cup low-fat yogurt, or ½ a cup of low-fat cottage cheese.

5. Nuts, Legumes, and Seeds 

  • 4 to 5 servings per week.
  • They are high in calories, hence it is recommended to consume them only a few times a week. You can eat almonds, kidney beans, peas, lentils, sunflower seeds, etc. as they are also rich in magnesium, potassium, and protein. You can eat them directly or add them to vegetables or salads.

6. Fish, poultry, and meat

  • 6 one-ounce servings or less in a day.
  • Cutting back on meat and fish will allow you to focus more on green vegetables. One serving can include 1 egg in any form or 1 ounce of cook meat or fish. It is advisable to remove the skin from the meat or poultry before eating to moderate fat intake. Also, try to consume fishes like salmon, tuna, and herring as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acid which is beneficial for the heart.

7. Sweets 

  • 5 or fewer servings a week.
  • Sugar has no nutritional value and adds to the calorie intake. It is difficult to leave them altogether, but it is highly advisable to regulate their intake. Have sugar less than five times a week and only in small portions. One serving can include 1 tablespoon sugar or jam, ½ cup custard or sorbet, or 1 cup lemonade. You can also try fat-free or low-fat sorbets, fruit jellies, candies, or cookies.

Extra Tips for DASH Diet 

  1. To avoid using salt as seasoning try using other seasoning mixtures like garlic, basil, oregano, anise seed, dry lemon rind, etc. You can use these separately o