A male patient aged 40 years visited our clinic with the complaint of having Blood pressure readings always between 140/90 to 150/90 mm Hg. He had no relevant symptoms but still he was worried whether he would have to start Anti hypertensive medications. I gave him a DASH diet plan and asked him to follow the same for a month along with a regular exercise. After one month his Blood pressure readings were almost normal i.e.130/80 mm Hg. He was too happy and decided to follow the same diet plan to live a healthy and hypertension free life.
What you choose to eat affects your chances of getting high blood pressure or Hypertension. Research has proven that following a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet plan and reduction in salt intake together can lower your high blood pressure. High blood pressure is always dangerous as it makes the heart work too hard and forceful blood flow can harm arteries and organs like heart, brain, eyes and kidneys. Once hypertension occurs it lasts a lifetime. If uncontrolled it can lead to heart and kidney disease, stroke and blindness.
An eating plan that is low in fats and that emphasis fruits, vegetables, fat free or low fat milk products have shown to reduce high blood pressure. This diet plan is a DASH plan which also includes whole grain products, fish, poultry and nuts. It is free from lean red meat, sweets, sugar containing beverages and added sugars. It focuses on increase in nutrients rich food that lowers the blood pressure, mainly minerals (like potassium, calcium and magnesium), proteins and fibres.
Vegetables like spinach, green beans, green peas, tomatoes, potato, carrot and fruits like apple, mango, banana, grapes, melon, pineapple, oranges and strawberries can help to reduce high blood pressure. The key to reduce salt intake is to make healthy food choices. You will be surprised to know that baked foods, baking soda, Chinese food items, soy sauce contains large amount of salt and sodium. Be sure to check the food labels for salt and fats percentage. In cooking, salt can be substituted by other spices, lemon and lime. Salt intake should be restricted to 1500 milligrams per day for Hypertensive’s.
It is easy to adapt DASH eating plan but adopt it gradually. If you are on anti hypertensive medications you should not stop using them. Follow the DASH eating plan consult your doctor before you make any of the changes in your treatment.
The DASH eating plan used along with losing weight if you are overweight, regular physical activity and dropping your alcohol intake can help you to reduce your blood pressure and bring it under control thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. This plan also lowers your bad cholesterol and proves to reduce your weight.