For 8 years in a row, the DASH diet has been ranked number one by the U.S. News and World Report as "best overall" among about 40 diets that it reviewed. What is the DASH diet? Well, for starters, DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is a dietary approach, along with lowering salt (sodium) consumption to lower blood pressure or even help prevent hypertension from developing.
But first, what's a blood pressure? It is the amount of force the blood has against the walls of the arteries. Like, how much resistance is there as the heart is pumping the blood throughout the body? According to the American College of Cardiology, the current recommendations for healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80. LESS THAN! So know your numbers. If your average blood pressure has been consistently measuring above these numbers, it's time to take action. Talk to your healthcare provider about your heart health. And start making some lifestyle changes, beginning with your diet and activity.
With an emphasis on fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fish, poultry, nuts and low saturated fats/cholesterol, this dietary plan is abundant in magnesium, calcium, and potassium, minerals vital to muscle function. And the heart is a muscle. On a 2,100/day calorie plan, the DASH sodium recommendation is at 2,300 mg (although 1,500 mg proved to have even better results). Which also means we should reduce or completely eliminate processed, packaged foods and be mindful when eating out about our sodium consumption.
For more information, contact me at Inspired Health. In the nurse coaching process, we work as a team to discover the best way for you to find your path to health. I teach the DASH diet to anyone with a family history or personal history of high blood pressure. It has proven to be effective in lowering your numbers, leading to overall better health.
Download your own .pdf file of the DASH diet at www.pbrc.edu.