Since high blood pressure is, for the majority of those who suffer from it, self created, following this simple plan can reverse the factors that created it.
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan has been researched and proven to lower blood pressure in only 14 days. Those who will experience the best results are people whose blood pressure was only moderately high, including those with prehypertension(1). For those of you with more severe hypertension and may not be able to eliminate medication, the DASH diet can help to improve your response to medication, and at the same time it will help lower blood pressure. The DASH diet can also aid in lowering cholesterol levels, raise HDL’s and if with a little exercise added in, weight reduction will be seen allow with a reduction in insulin resistance.
Most of you reading this will easily admit that this seems like a very healthy way of eating, but initially when implemented may find it hard to sustain. The truth is that the average American only eats 2 – 3 servings of fruits and vegetables combined each day, so following the DASH diet may involve making a determined effort.
The best part of eating this way is that you will be reducing your chances of developing degenerative diseases, cancers or autoimmune diseases. Also this is a preventive diet against weight gain, obesity and diabetes.
|Type of food||
Number of servings for
1600 – 3100 Calorie diets
Servings on a
2000 Calorie diet
|Grains and grain products
(include at least 3 whole grain foods each day)
|6 – 12||7 – 8|
|Fruits||4 – 6||4 – 5|
|Vegetables||4 – 6||4 – 5|
|Low fat or non fat dairy foods||2 – 4||2 – 3|
|Lean meats, fish, poultry||1.5 – 2.5||2 or less|
|Nuts, seeds, and legumes||3 – 6 per week||4 – 5 per week|
|Fats and sweets||2 – 4||limited|
Some helpful tips for lowering your blood pressure and following the DASH diet
- Eating fewer processed foods, such as snack items, luncheon meats, and canned soups, will reduce the amount of sodium in your diet and help you lower your blood pressure.
- A diet high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium (fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of this nutrients) may lower your blood pressure.
- A diet high in sodium may cause high blood pressure.
- DASH recommends that you eat 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables and 3 servings of low-fat dairy products each day.
- Eating a diet low in both saturated fat and total fat will also help lower your blood pressure. Only 30% (I recommend using olive oil as your fat source) of your total calories should be from fat, with only 7% to 10% of
your fat calories from saturated fat. Saturated fat is found in meats, cheeses, butter, poultry, snack foods, and other processed foods.
- In general, vegetarian (Mediterranean diet) diets reduce blood pressure. The DASH diet could easily be a vegetarian diet if legumes were substituted for meat. Vegetarian diets tend to be higher in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, as is the DASH diet. Vegetarian diets also are higher in fiber and unsaturated fat than other diets.
- Controlling your weight, increasing your physical activity, and reducing sodium in your diet will help reduce your blood pressure even more when combined with the DASH diet. More information here: Mediterranean Diet Helps Prevent Depression.
(1). Prehypertension is considered to be blood pressure readings with a systolic pressure from 120 to 139 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure from 80 to 89 mm Hg. Readings greater than or equal to 140/90 mm Hg are considered hypertension.