Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension - DASH Diet

 High blood pressure or Hypertension is blood pressure higher than normal. Blood pressure is expressed in A/B form where A is systolic pressure and B is diastolic pressure. High blood pressure is blood pressure above 140/90 mm Hg. Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to heart and kidney disease, stroke and blindness. But researches have shown that high blood pressure can be prevented by following the Dietary Approaches to stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet originated in the 1990s.

Many researches were conducted in 1992 by National Institute of Health to find the effectiveness of DASH eating plan. The research concluded that dietary interventions alone can lower systolic blood pressure by 6-11 mm Hg. The DASH diet offer an alternative to drug therapy in hypertensives and may prevent hypertension in normotensives. In a study done in 2014,the DASH diet was found to result in significant decreases in systolic BP ( − 5·2 mmHg, 95 % CI − 7·0, − 3·4; P< 0·001) and diastolic BP ( − 2·6 mmHg, 95 % CI − 3·5, − 1·7; P< 0·001). These changes predicted a reduction of approximately 13 % in the 10-year Framingham risk score for CVD.

DASH includes consumption of fruits and vegetables, lean meat and fat free or low fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts and foods rich in nutrients —mainly potassium, magnesium, calcium, protein, and fiber. It also limits the intake of sodium in the diet to 1500 mg/day. DASH emphasizes on decrease consumption of processed food and increase consumption of fresh food.

DASH plan is as follows:
1.Vegetables: about five servings per day
2.Fruits: about five meals per day 
3.Carbohydrates: about seven servings per day

Healthy carbohydrates included under DASH include:
Green leafy vegetables: kale, broccoli, spinach, mustards
Whole grains: cracked wheat, millets, oats
Low glycemic index fruits
Legumes and beans

4.Low-fat dairy products: about two servings per day
DASH includes good fats. Good fat prevent inflammation and help in promotion of health. These fats increase HDL and decrease LDL.
- Olive oil
- Avocados
- Nuts
- Hempseeds
- Flax seeds
- Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids

5.Lean meat products: about two or fewer servings per day
6.Nuts and seeds: 2 to 3 times per week

The DASH diet contains large amount of fiber and can cause bloating and diarrhoea. To avoid these problems, gradually increase the fruit, vegetables and whole grains in your diet over the weeks. Make these changes over a couple of days or weeks.
1.Add a serving of vegetables at lunch one day and dinner the next, and add fruit at one meal or as a snack.
2.Increase your use of fat-free and low-fat milk products to two servings a day.
3.Limit lean meats to 6 ounces a day—3 ounces a meal.
DASH diet helps you to control blood pressure and stay healthy. It helps to keep metabolic syndromes in check. Compliance to DASH has been associated with improvements of outcomes in type 2 Diabetes.

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