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Can the DASH Diet Decrease Hypertension?

 

* the opinions expressed are those of the author and not Nutrition Ink.

 

 

 

Millions of adults in the United States are diagnosed with Hypertension (HTN), high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a leading cause of two of the foremost risk factors of death in America: heart disease and stroke.(1) What are the treatment methods utilized for this widespread and pervasive ailment?

 

High blood pressure is regularly treated with medication, however there are lifestyle modifications that have shown to be beneficial to aid in reducing blood pressure.2 One of the most successful and beneficial diets is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, DASH, diet. There has been a plethora of studies conducted which demonstrate and validate that adhering to the DASH diet can have a positive effect on reducing your blood pressure (3,4,5) By lowering your blood pressure your cardiovascular disease risk is greatly reduced.(4)

 

What exactly is the DASH diet? The diet stresses a substantial intake of fruits and vegetables, nuts and legumes, fish, whole grains, poultry, and low-fat dairy foods. Red meats, processed meats, sweets, high-calorie drinks, and salt should be consumed in moderation.(4,6,7) Select lower sodium choices, flavor with salt-free seasoning or condiments, and limit sodium to no more than 1 teaspoon daily (2,300 mg). Foods that are heart healthy: low in saturated fats, cholesterol, and trans fats and high in hypertension reducing nutrients such as fiber, calcium, protein, potassium, and magnesium are essential while following the DASH diet. The NIH, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, has a vast array of information, recipes, and sample menus available on their website to get you started on the DASH diet.(6,7)

 

 

 

In conclusion: load up on those fruits and veggies. Make sure to include whole grains, nuts, and low-fat dairy in your diet. Minimize the amount of sweets you eat and put away the salt shaker. Adopt a healthier lifestyle to help prolong your life.

 

References:

  1. High Blood Pressure. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2016. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/

  2. Mccabe-Sellers BJ. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Integration of Medical Nutrition Therapy and Pharmacotherapy. 2010;110(6):950–956.

  3. Saneei P, Salehi-Abargouei A, Esmaillzadeh A, Azadbakht L. Influence of Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis on randomized controlled trials.  2014;24(12):1253-1261. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2014.06.008

  4. Chiavaroli L, Viguiliouk E, Nishi SK, et al. DASH Dietary Pattern and Cardiometabolic Outcomes: An Umbrella Review of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. . 2019;11(2):338. doi:10.3390/nu11020338

  5. Seangpraw K, Auttama N, Tonchoy P, Panta P. The effect of the behavior modification program Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) on reducing the risk of hypertension among elderly patients in the rural community of Phayao, Thailand. . 2019;Volume 12:109-118. doi:10.2147/jmdh.s185569

  6. DASH Eating Plan. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/dash-eating-plan.

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