DASH: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension

DASH DIETWith the American Heart Association’s recent announcement that redefines the starting point of high blood pressure, it’s more important than ever to take precautionary measures to protect your heart health. One way to do this is by adhering to a certain diet known as DASH, or Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, which is specifically designed with your heart health in mind.

The DASH diet is not meant to prevent you from enjoying a scrumptious meal, but rather to help you focus on choosing healthier foods with the most nutritious benefits. According to a study from the National Institute of Health, participants who followed the DASH diet were found to have lower blood pressure readings and lower LDL cholesterol levels. Best of all, the DASH diet is easy to follow – you don’t even have to worry about buying specialty foods that no one has heard of. You can get everything you need for this heart healthy meal plan at your local grocery store.

The DASH diet encourages its participants to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while simultaneously consuming less sodium, sugars, and fats. Here are a few additional tips to get you on the right track:

  • Swap the salt. Instead of reaching for the salt shaker to add some flavor to a bland dish, trying using an alternative approach such as lemon/lime juice or black pepper. Herbs like basil, rosemary and oregano are also great substitutes. You’ll still get an extra dose of flavor without the influx of sodium.
  • Limit saturated fats. It’s true that fried foods, baked goods, and dairy products are all delicious, but they can also be full of saturated fats, which are known to raise cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends eating 13 grams of saturated fat per day. To help meet this goal, try limiting your intake of fried or sugary foods.
  • Add some color to your plate. As you prepare some of your favorite meals, try adding an extra serving of fruits and veggies to your plate. Choices like broccoli, carrots, squash, apples, bananas, and berries are the perfect side item for almost any dish.

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