The DASH diet action plan and how to control blood pressure.

What is DASH diet?

The acronym ‘DASH’ denotes Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Like most diets, DASH diet too is a lifelong practice of eating healthy, and has particularly been designed to help prevent high blood pressure hypertension. DASH diet emphasizes greatly on the portion size of the food consumed and acquiring the right amount of nutrients needed by the body.

What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure can be described as the pressure of the blood in the circulatory system. Therefore, a having a high blood pressure means that the pressure of the blood is higher than it should be. Another name for high blood pressure is hypertension. When it comes to blood pressure, both high and low blood pressure is always a cause for concern. Neither a higher nor a lower blood pressure is healthy, thus, blood pressure should be maintained at stable levels.

Blood pressure is normally expressed as two digits, such as 115/75 mm Hg. The normal blood pressure count should be below 120/80 mm Hg. The blood pressure is considered to be high if it exceeds 140/90 mm Hg.

While it is hard to understand what exactly spikes the blood pressure and why it cannot be cured, it is important to note that it can be managed. About 80 million Americans (one in three) suffer from high blood pressure but many of them are not even aware that they have it. High blood pressure usually has very few symptoms, which are easy to miss. Never the less, the condition is very dangerous. Not being aware of having hypertension and/or not treating high blood pressure can bring alarming results. High blood pressure increases the risk of various ailments such as heart attack, kidney failure, and stroke, just to name but a few. The only credible way of knowing if your blood pressure is high is to regularly get it checked by your doctor.

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However, it is not possible to narrow down the type of people who are likely to have a higher risk of high blood pressure. For example, people with close relatives who are not physically fit run a high chance of suffering from the condition. Overweight or obese people as well as people in general who are not physically active have a high risk of developing the ailment. Those who consume too much alcohol and too much sodium are at risk too. Also, diabetic patients or those suffering from some sort of kidney disease are usually at a higher risk of developing hypertension as well. Generally speaking, the older you get, the higher the chances of developing high blood pressure.

One of the alternatives you have to modern medicines is following a specialized and balanced diet; more specifically the DASH diet. 

Introduction to DASH diet

Basically, the DASH diet encourages patients to reduce sodium intakes and to consume foods rich in nutrients that assist to lower blood pressure. Foods rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium are, excellent in fighting high blood pressure levels. Therefore, by following DASH diet, individuals are able to reduce their blood pressure by a few notches in just over a couple of weeks. Eventually, the blood pressure could drop by 8-14 points, which is amazing as it can make a considerable difference in anyone’s health complications.

Even though the early DASH diet plan was developed to reduce blood pressure, several studies over the years have shown that the DASH diet can, in fact, reduce the risk of developing many other diseases like cancer, stroke, heart complications, diabetes, etc. It has also been proven to be a good way of losing weight and can help you become healthy.

However, the original DASH diet plan was not designed for weight loss since it includes some starchy foods, which have a negative impact on weight loss. However, it is important to note that as weight loss became increasingly important to many people, especially to those suffering from high blood pressure; it led to the revision of the DASH diet. Fortunately, favorable results were obtained when ‘empty’ carbohydrates, which were previously included in the diet, were omitted and a balance of protein and healthy fats added to help attain a sustainable weight loss.

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Today, much of the DASH diet involves planning balanced meals with fruits and vegetables, low-fat or better still non-fat dairy, along with a healthy dose of nuts, beans, and seeds, as well as limiting sodium intakes. (extract from DASH Diet: Weight Loss and Reduced Blood Pressure.) Available on Amazon available here