High Blood Pressure Low Sodium Diet (Dash Diet )
High blood pressure can lead to higher kidney failure, heart disease, and stroke risks.
Reports from the USA between 2017-18 show that 46% of people around 20+ years old had high blood pressure or hypertension.
Trying out a high blood pressure low sodium diet can help in reducing high blood pressure.
What people eat also affects the chances of developing high blood pressure. According to research, the DASH diet plan can reduce or prevent high blood pressure since it reduces sodium intake.
High blood pressure is defined as a reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher. It is the prehypertension blood pressure when it is between 120/80-139/89 mmHg.
People often wonder about the proper ways and steps to reduce hypertension. The main things you can do include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Becoming physically active for more than 2 hours and 30 minutes every week
- Drinking less alcohol (if you drink)
- Most importantly, follow a high blood pressure low sodium diet like the DASH diet.
What is a DASH Diet?
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH is an effective diet plan recommended for those who want to reduce or prevent hypertension, the problem of high blood pressure.
It also helps in reducing the risk of heart and lung diseases.
The main factor of the DASH diet is a reduction, i.e. sodium intake and it focuses on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean meats.
It is effective because a plant-based diet leads to lower risks of hypertension, as per reports.
Hence, the DASH diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, and some lean protein courses like beans, chicken, and fish.
As per the DASH diet program, individuals can only consume less than 1 teaspoon (2,300 mg) of sodium every day. When sodium levels in a body decrease, the person is less exposed to hypertension.
4 Benefits of the High Blood Pressure Low Sodium Diet
Apart from reducing blood pressure, the high blood pressure low sodium diet – DASH provides numerous health benefits and has specific impacts on your body.
Let’s discuss the significant benefits of the DASH diet below:
1. Lowering Blood Pressure
The force put on the organs and blood cells when blood passes through these parts is known as blood pressure.
Along with the effective methods of lowering sodium levels in the body, the DASH diet effectively reduces blood pressure levels, as per several studies.
The DASH diet is more effective with the lowest salt consumption. However, a reduction in blood pressure doesn’t imply reduced risks of heart disease.
2. Weight Loss
Lowering blood pressure is highly visible in the DASH diet, whether you lose weight or not. However, losing weight is also essential if you have hypertension.
It’s because high weight increases the risk of high blood pressure.
Some studies also suggest that DASH may help in reducing weight. Since the DASH diet cuts out sugary foods and high-fat to a great extent, it automatically reduces calories.
However, if you want effective results in weight loss, then following the DASH diet along with a calorie-reduced diet will show fruitful results.
3. Decreasing Cancer Risks
The DASH diet may also reduce the risks of cancer. Recent research shows that following a DASH diet resulted in lower risks of some cancers. Such types of cancers include breast or colorectal cancer.
4. Reduction in Heart and Diabetes Risk
This diet also helps in reducing the risks of heart diseases. Recent research data shows that women who followed the DASH diet were associated with 29% lower stroke risk and 20% lower heart disease risk.
Furthermore, the diet also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. It can even improve insulin resistance, as per some studies.
DASH Diet and Sodium
Compared to a typical American diet plan, a DASH Diet includes low levels of sodium intake. That’s why it’s a high blood pressure low sodium diet.
When the other diet plans include around 3,400 mg of sodium per day, the DASH diet limits this amount to only 2,300 mg or less a day.
It complies with the recommendation from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Their guideline is to limit the daily sodium intake to 2,300 mg daily. In terms of general measurement, it would be around 1 teaspoon.
The DASH Diet even has a lower sodium plan which includes only 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Choosing the type of DASH diet plan depends on your health requirements.
What to Eat on a DASH Diet?
You can have a flexible and balanced eating plan during the dASH diet. It helps you have a heart-healthy eating plan rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
It also incorporates low-fat or fat-free dairy products, beans, nuts, poultry, and fish. Furthermore, it reduces food items high in saturated fat like full-fat dairy products and fatty meats.
In general, during the DASH diet, go for food items that are:
- Low in sodium
- Low in saturated fat
- Rich in magnesium, calcium, protein, fiber, and potassium
How Many Servings During a DASH Diet?
The number of servings also depends on your calorie consumption. If you want to follow a 2000-calorie diet, you can go to the following food portions.
- Vegetables: 4-5 servings per day (30-45 grams)
- Whole grains: 6-8 servings per day (28 gms whole-grain cereal/1 slice whole-grain bread/ 95 gms pasta, cereal, or cooked rice)
- Fruits: 4-5 servings per day (50 gms dried apricots/30 gms frozen, fresh or canned peaches/ 1 medium apple)
- Dairy Products: 2-3 servings per day (240 ml low-fat milk/45 gms low-fat cheese/285 gms low-fat yogurt)
- Non-veg: 6 or fewer servings per day (1 egg/ 28 gms or 1 ounce of cooked chicken, meat, or fish)
- Seeds, nuts, and legumes: 3-4 servings per week (40 gms nut butter/ 50 gms nuts/ 16 gms seeds/ 40 gms cooked legumes)
- Oils and fats: 2-3 servings per day (5 ml vegetable oil/ 4.5 gms soft margarine/ 30 ml salad dressing/ 15 gms mayonnaise)
- Candy/Added sugars: 5 or fewer servings per week (20 gms jam or jelly/ 12.5 gms sugar/ 240 ml lemonade)
DASH Diet Tips
You can follow the below-mentioned tips for this high blood pressure low sodium diet to get enhanced results.
- Include vegetables serving at lunch and dinner
- Drink skim or low-fat dairy products rather than using full-fat or cream.
- Replace fruits with your regular snacking meals
- Try eating vegetarian meals and limit your meat intake to 6 ounces per day.
- Include more beans and vegetables in the diet
- Choose food products lower in sodium.
- Instead of eating junk food like sweets or chips, try out raisins, nuts, unsalted pretzels, low-fat/fat-free yogurt, raw vegetables, frozen yogurt, and popcorn (unsalted and without butter).
One of the best high blood pressure low sodium diets is the DASH diet. It’s an effective way to reduce hypertension.
However, lowering the sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg will ensure lower blood pressure but won’t guarantee reduced heart disease.
Following other lifestyle changes and the DASH diet will be the best way to control, maintain and prevent high blood pressure.
You can follow a diet that focuses on lower-calorie foods, including vegetables and fruits, which may also help weight loss.
You can even talk to your doctor to learn about your blood pressure. Furthermore, discussing the diet with your doctor will help you more effectively.