May is dedicated to increase awareness and educate people about high blood pressure. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one of three American adults has high blood pressure. This means that up to 67 million Americans suffer from hypertension. Besides medicines and an active life, many studies have shown that following a healthy diet can reduce the risk and/or prevent blood pressure from rising.
Diets high in sodium are lethal for people who want to lower their blood pressure levels. According to WebMd, the less sodium you eat, the better blood pressure control you might have. Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture suggest that adults should consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. This is equal to one teaspoon of table salt. Moreover, people with hypertension and middle-aged should not consume more than 1,500 milligrams -or a little more than a half- of sodium a day.
What is DASH?
As a result of this disease that affects millions of Americans, scientists and doctors developed the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Eating Plan. This diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, whole grain products, fish, poultry, and nuts and it is reduced in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat. People who have followed the Dash eating plan have noticed blood pressure reductions within two weeks of starting the plan.
In order of greatest to lowest amount, here are the food groups that the DASH eating plan includes:
This type of food is a great source of energy and fiber. You can have between 6-8 daily servings of grains, such as a slice of bread, one ounce of dry cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta.
You need potassium, magnesium, and fiber in order to function correctly and vegetables provide you with these nutrients. Eat between 4 to 5 daily servings like one cup of raw leafy vegetable or ½ cup vegetable juice.
These delicious treats have similar nutrients to the ones vegetables have. You should have 4 to 5 daily servings, such as one medium fruit or ½ cup of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit.
Lean Meats, Poultry and Fish
You need proteins to build new cells, maintain tissues, and have the strength to perform basic bodily functions, and all types of meat provide you with that. Consume 6 or less daily servings of cooked meats, poultry, fish, or egg.
Fat-free or Low-fat Dairy Products
Calcium is good to keep your bones strong. Therefore, you should eat or drink between 2 to 3 daily portions of dairy products like one cup of milk or yogurt or 1 ½ ounce of cheese.
Fats and Oils
The DASH diet includes 27 percent of calories as fat, including fat in or added to foods. You can have between 2 to 3 daily servings of fat or oils such as one tablespoon of soft margarine or 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
Nuts, Seeds and Legumes
These foods are rich sources of energy, magnesium, protein, and fiber. Consume 4 to 5 servings per week of nuts, seeds, and legumes such as 1 ½ ounce of nuts, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, or 2 tablespoons of seeds.
Sweets and Added Sugars
Even if you have high blood pressure, you should have a treat once in a while. Eat 5 or less servings per week of sweets such as one tablespoon of sugar, one tablespoon of jelly or jam, or ½ cup of sorbet or gelatin.