DASH Diet: Healthy eating to lower blood pressure

With numerous diets out there to choose from, it can become a challenge when it comes to researching what type of diet leads to long-term health and of course, is enjoyable to eat!

The DASH diet originated in the USA and was created by scientists in a response to the significant rise in cardiovascular disease, hence the acronym DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

The principal aim of the DASH diet is to reduce blood pressure by cutting down on sodium and include more magnesium, calcium and potassium into meals. If you’re not familiar with it, you’ll be surprised to hear just how broad the DASH diet is, allowing you to eat from a variety of food groups.

What can the DASH diet do for me?

The DASH’s principal goal is not to promote weight loss, though following the diet in conjunction with exercise can lead to healthy weight loss, providing you are consuming a healthy number of calories.

Clinical studies have proved that those who exercise were more likely to lower their blood pressure compared to those who avoided it, so if you can get a few hours of sport in a week, this will only accelerate the effects of the diet on your cardiovascular health.

What type of foods make up the DASH diet?

The DASH diet is a versatile diet that allows you to eat from a myriad of food groups – there’s great potential to experiment with your food and enjoy well-rounded meals, unlike diets such as keto, vegan and vegetarian which can be restrictive for some people.

basket of fruitsExpect to enjoy foods from food groups like vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean meats and fish, healthy dairy, nuts and seeds, and healthy oils. This said, the moral of the DASH diet story is moderation, so you can enjoy sugary foods and foods that are a little higher in fat, within reason.

The other big factor at the heart of the DASH diet (pardon the pun!) is controlling your sodium intake.

If you’re one to reach for the salt to season your food, think twice about this, or you will inadvertently be hindering your other efforts to eat healthily.

How do I know if I have high or low blood pressure?

 

You can buy blood pressure monitors online for as little as £19.99 and monitor your blood pressure from home.

Alternatively, GP practices have blood pressure monitors in the waiting room. To get an accurate blood pressure reading, you should take three readings in a row at any given time you go to do a reading.

If you’re unsure about what your blood pressure readings mean, check out the chart.blood pressure graph

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