Dash Diet -- Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)

Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force exerted on artery walls when the heart is beating and when it is at rest.

The higher number is the "Systolic" pressure and is the pressure exerted on artery walls when the heart is in the contracting phase. The lower number is the "Diastolic" pressure and is the pressure exerted on artery walls when the heart is in the resting phase.

High blood pressure is a silent killer. If left unchecked, it can cause permanent damage, resulting in kidney failure, heart attack or stroke.

Blood pressure is considered high if the upper number (systolic pressure) is above 140 and the bottom number (diastolic pressure) is above 90 and stays there.

Although, many physicians believe these numbers are still too high. Soemthing like 130/80 might be what you need to shoot for in order to lower the risks of hypertension.

There are actually two types of high blood pressure. One is primary and the other is secondary. In secondary high blood pressure, usually something else causing it, like an overactive thyroid gland.

However, most people suffer from primary high blood pressure. The cause for high blood pressure in the primary form cannot be determined, but, while the cause may not be known, the treatment can still be effective.

Basic Rules for Controlling High Blood Pressure

  • Adjust your diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight

  • Exercise

  • Take medications as prescribed

  • There are also a few dietary interventions to start and help control your blood pressure...

    Limit salt

    Most medical experts recommend salt-sensitive persons limit salt to 2,000 milligrams per day. Watch out for "hidden" salt, found in butter flavorings, seasonings, tomato sauces, condiments and canned foods. Check with your healthcare practitioner before using a salt substitute.

    Limit intake of high-fat foods

    Try baking of broiling rather than frying.

    Limit alcohol

    Over consumption contributes to weakening of the heart muscle and to hypertension.

    The Dash Diet

    Follow the DASH diet. The Dash diet was designed to prevent high blood pressure, but it's also low in fat. The Dash diet is based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day meal plan. Check with your healthcare practitioner about whether the Dash diet may be the right diet for you.

    Here is the Dash Diet...

    • Low-fat or fat-free dairy 2-3 Servivings Daily
    • Vegetables 4-5 Servings Daily
    • Fruits 4-5 Servings Daily
    • Grains and grain products 7-8 Servings Daily
    • Meat, Poultry and fish 2 Servings Daily
    • Nuts, seeds and beans 4-5 Servings per Week
    • Fats and oils 2-3 Servings Daily
    • Sweets 5 Servings per Week

    To Healthy Living!

    Michael A. Smith, MD
    Chief Medical Consultant
    Diet Basics

    Dr. Smith is the Chief Medical Consultant for Diet Basics, a content rich web site dedicated to all dieters. Please visit his site and read more about Medical Weight Loss.

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