Reduce Your Risk of Hypertension with the DASH Diet - dummies

Reduce Your Risk of Hypertension with the DASH Diet

By Sarah Samaan, Rosanne Rust, Cynthia Kleckner

Physicians and dietitians have seen the good that can come of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, particularly regarding blood pressure, as well as the harm that an unhealthy diet and lifestyle can wreak on the human body. DASH works to treat and prevent hypertension because

  • Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, and fiber, all of which can help to lower blood pressure — but only when consumed as whole foods rather than supplements.

  • Whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans are also rich in antioxidants, fiber, and magnesium.

  • Low-fat dairy products provide plenty of food-based calcium, which is known to help lower blood pressure.

  • Moderate amounts of unsaturated fats from plant sources improve blood pressure compared to a diet high in saturated fat.

  • Limiting fats and sweets helps with weight loss and reduces inflammation (inflammation in the arteries occurs as a defensive response against “injuries” such as smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol).

  • Cutting back on sodium is a quick and easy way to lower blood pressure.

The DASH diet was expressly designed to lower blood pressure, but it’s also a great way to take control of your daily calorie count. Thanks to an abundance of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, DASH gives you that happily full feeling called satiety.