Last updated on September 8th, 2013
Keeping blood pressure low is difficult but not impossible and by sticking to a healthy eating plan it can be kept at the correct level. The DASH diet enables blood pressure to be kept down and another advantage of this is that it will help keep weight off.
There should be clear limits when it comes to the amount of salt that is eaten and for most adults this will be 2,300mg a day, while for others who are at risk if they allow the level to go too high, it should be 1,500mg a day.
What is the Dash Diet
In short the Dash diet is a way to have both a healthy heart and blood pressure level. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and can also help promote the right type of cholesterol – HDL instead of LDL.
How Does It Work
Eating a good range of healthy products is the way to deal with high blood pressure. Items such as fruit and vegetables, white meats and low fat dairy products can be eaten without fear, but there must be a halt put to too much sugar, salt and red meat.
As well as keeping the figure you want, following the Dash Diet will work towards decreasing the risk of diabetes.
There is no evidence that it can completely be prevented, but the studies that have been carried out do show there can be an improvement. The only real reason for failure will be not eating the named products.
What to Eat on The Dash Diet
Each category of food has its place in the diet, and by sticking to the levels that are recommended by the Government there will be great results. Fat, carbohydrates and protein are easy to control, but salt can be an issue.
It is not just a product on its own but is added to lots of other foods making it easy to go over the safe daily limit. Depending on the limit you need to stick to – age and racial background can mean there is a higher risk of diabetes so need to take in less salt- there are meal plans that can be safely followed.
Is it Easy to Follow
This is a diet that does not limit who is able to benefit from the meal plan. There are recipes that are suitable for vegans and vegetarians plus Kosher, Halal and gluten free meals. The hardest part is going to be accepting that it is no longer possible to eat all the tasty things that are full of salt and sugar.
The big plus with this diet as there is no one thing that has to be omitted and all things can be eaten within reason. A large part of getting the diet right is to have the right amount of each food group eaten each day. Ideally there should be:-
- Grains – 6 to 8 servings a day. A serving can be a slice of bread or a half cup of cooked pasta. Wholegrain will always be better than white.
- Vegetables – 4 to 5 servings a day. Most are high in fibre and a serving will be a cup green vegetables or a half cup of others.
- Fruit – 4 -5 servings a day. A serving is an average sized piece of fruit or 4 oz of fresh juice. Peels are good and the fruit can be eaten alone or put into the meal.
- Dairy – 2 to 3 servings a day. These need to be low fat varieties in all cases.
- Lean meat or fish – 6 a day at most. Meat must be lean and there should be no batter on the fish but served in oil.
- Fats/oils – 2 or 3 servings a day. Fat is needed but should be just over ¼ of the daily calorie intake.
- Sweet products – 5 or less a week. This will include jam and sugar and a portion will be a tablespoon.
- Caffeine – no limit but if there are concerns about high blood pressure a doctors opinion should be sought.
- Alcohol – men should be OK with 2 units a day, women with 1.
One of the best things about the DASH diet is that the food that can be eaten is easy to get and can be fairly cheap. Fresh food will always be better and while this can be a little dearer than processed foods, savings can be made by omitting high calorie snacks that have a lot of salt or sugar.
Is The Dash Diet Recommended
If you are wanting to experiment then there is nothing ultimately wrong with the Dash Diet – it is just there are diets that have a better track record
Recommended Diet Plan
One of the most popular, most advertised and most successful diets in the current climate is the FAST Diet.
The FAST Diet is Dr Michael Mosley’s interpretation of the 5:2 diet – or intermittent fasting.
The FAST Diet has several high profile success stories and has the advantage of being the created by someone who was strong and confident enough to have its whole reputation unfold on TV (BBC Horizon).