We have determined that what you eat affects your blood pressure. Making healthy food choices provides you a way of taking control of your health instead of poor health taking over your life. If you have high blood pressure, following the DASH diet may help lower your blood pressure.
The DASH diet, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was developed by the National Institutes of Health in an attempt to lower blood pressure without medical intervention. Research has shown the diet not only lowers blood pressure, but also reduces cholesterol and improves insulin sensitivity.
The importance of minerals
Researchers have found that several minerals help control blood pressure, including magnesium, potassium, and calcium. This diet provides plenty of opportunity to get enough of these important minerals each day. The following foods have one or more minerals:
- Fruits, such as bananas, dates, grapes, oranges, melons, peaches, prunes, raisins, strawberries, and tangerines.
- Vegetables include carrots, green peas, squash, broccoli, spinach, green beans, Lima beans, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and tomatoes. Eat fresh or frozen vegetables as much as possible, or canned with no salt added.
- Nuts, seeds, and dried beans like almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, and lentils.
- Lean, cook meats such as chicken and fish.
- Fat-free and low-fat dairy foods. Skim or low-fat (1%) mil, fat-free or low-fat buttermilk, yogurt (regular or frozen), and cheese are all on the diet.
Cut back on salt
The DASH diet plan works by providing key nutrients. Using less salt also helps lower blood pressure.
- Remove your salt shaker from the table. In fact, don’t use salt for cooking, baking, or eating.
- Use pepper or salt-free spice blends. Try flavored vinegars, lemon or lime juice, garlic, and fresh or dried herbs.
- Avoid processed foods that contain too much sodium.
- Read food labels to see how much sodium is in each serving. Your health care provider can tell you how much sodium you can have each day.
- Keep a record of how much sodium you are eating. By writing down how much salt is in each food item you eat, you can monitor your salt in-take.
The more you follow the DASH diet plan the sooner it will feel like second nature. There are a number of books available that are directly based on the DASH diet. One source of the DASH books is Amazon.com where you can find a number of DASH resources.
Another source is the National Institutes of Health where you can gather much more information. The important thing is to try the DASH diet plan to see for yourself the benefits of this wonderful program. If you do find success with this plan, or have already tried it, please leave us a message in the comment section.
I hope this series regarding how to lower your blood pressure has been of help. By making healthy lifestyle choices, eating well with such programs as the DASH diet, taking your medication if necessary, getting plenty of exercise, and not smoking, you can lower your blood pressure.