More than a billion people worldwide suffer from high blood pressure, and the number is growing.
In reality, the number of people with high blood pressure has doubled in the last 40 years, posing a severe public health threat because high blood pressure is connected to an increased risk of heart disease, renal failure, and stroke.
Because diet is known to play a significant part in the development of high blood pressure, scientists and policymakers have devised specialized dietary guidelines to help people lower their blood pressure.
Table of Contents
1. What is the DASH Diet, and Why Should You Try It?
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a diet that is advised for persons who want to avoid or treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and minimize their risk of heart disease.
Fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, and lean meats are all important components of the DASH diet. Researchers discovered that persons who ate a plant-based diet, such as vegans and vegetarians, had a lower risk of high blood pressure.
As a result, the DASH diet emphasizes fruits and vegetables while also including lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, and legumes. Red meat, salt, added sugars, and fat are all prohibited in the diet.
One of the major reasons people with hypertension can recover from this diet, according to scientists, is that it lowers salt intake.
Most national standards recommend no more than 1 teaspoon (2,300 mg) of sodium per day, which is what the DASH diet program recommends.
A daily sodium intake of no more than 3/4 teaspoon (1,500 mg) is recommended in the low-salt variant.
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2. Advantages to Expect
The DASH diet can help you lose weight and reduce your risk of cancer, in addition to lowering your blood pressure.
DASH, on the other hand, was created primarily to control blood pressure, so don’t expect it to help you lose weight on its own. The weight loss may be just a bonus. Diet has several effects on your body.
Blood Pressure is Reduced
The force exerted on your blood vessels and organs as your blood travels through them is measured by your blood pressure. It’s divided into two parts:
- The pressure in your blood arteries while your heart beats is called systolic pressure.
- Diastolic pressure: When your heart is at rest, the pressure in your blood arteries between heartbeats.
Adults with normal blood pressure have a systolic pressure of less than 120 mmHg and a diastolic pressure of less than 80 mmHg. The systolic blood pressure is usually stated above the diastolic blood pressure, as in 120/80.
High blood pressure is defined as a blood pressure value of 140/90 or higher. Even if those who followed the DASH diet didn’t lose weight or limit their salt intake, their blood pressure was lower in studies.
The DASH diet, however, reduced blood pressure much more when sodium intake was decreased. The people who consumed the least salt had the biggest reductions in blood pressure.
The DASH diet reduced systolic blood pressure by an average of 12 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg in persons who already had high blood pressure.
It decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 4 and 2 mmHg, respectively, in patients with normal blood pressure.
Other studies have found that limiting salt intake can lower blood pressure, particularly in people with high blood pressure.
Remember that lower blood pressure does not always imply a lower risk of cardiovascular.
Is not whether you lose weight while following the DASH diet, your blood pressure is likely to drop. Whether you have hypertension already, you’ve probably been told to reduce weight.
This is because the more weight you have, the higher your blood pressure will be. Furthermore, it has been proven that decreasing weight reduces blood pressure.
People may discover that by eliminating a lot of high-fat, sugary foods from their diet, they immediately reduce their calorie intake and lose weight. Others may need to consciously limit their consumption.
Whether in case, unless you want to weight loss on the DASH diet, you’ll need to eat fewer calories.
3. Additional Health Advantages
DASH may have an impact on other aspects of one’s health. The diet is as follows:
- Reduces cancer risk: According to a recent study, persons who followed the DASH diet had a reduced risk of some cancers, such as colorectal and breast cancer.
- Lower your chance of a heart attack: According to some studies, the DASH diet can reduce your risk of developing diabetes by up to 81 percent.
- Reduces the risk of diabetes: A low-carbohydrate diet has been related to a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes. It has also been shown in several studies to help with insulin resistance.
- Reduces the risk of heart disease: A DASH-like diet was linked to a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease and a 29 percent lower risk of stroke in a recent study of women.
The high fruit and vegetable component of the diet is credited with many of these beneficial properties. Eating more fruits and vegetables can help minimize illness risk in general.
4. Is It Effective in All Cases?
While research on the DASH diet found that those with the lowest salt intake had the largest reductions in blood pressure, the health and lifespan advantages of salt restriction are not obvious.
Reduced salt intake has a considerable impact on blood pressure in patients with hypertension. Reducing salt intake, on the other hand, has a significantly lesser impact on persons with normal blood pressure.
This could be explained in part by the hypothesis that certain people are salt-sensitive, meaning salt has a higher impact on their blood pressure.
5. Salt Restrictions Aren’t Healthy
A higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, insulin resistance, and fluid retention have all been related to eating too little salt.
The DASH diet’s low-salt version suggests that consumers consume no more than 3/4 teaspoon (1,500 mg) sodium per day.
Nevertheless, even in patients with high blood pressure, it’s uncertain whether such a low salt intake has any benefits.
Even though limiting salt intake resulted in a minor drop in blood pressure, a recent assessment showed no link between salt intake and the risk of heart disease death.
Nevertheless, since most individuals consume too much salt, reducing your daily salt intake from 2–2.5 teaspoons (10–12 grams) to 1–1.25 teaspoons (5–6 grams) may be advantageous.
This goal is simple to achieve if you limit your intake of highly processed foods and eat largely natural foods.
6. How to Adopt a DASH-Style Diet
You can adjust your existing diet to the DASH recommendations by doing the following:
- Consume a higher amount of fruits and vegetables.
- Whole grains should be substituted with processed grains.
- Pick dairy products that are fat-free or low-fat.
- Fish, poultry, and beans are all good lean protein sources.
Use vegetable oils to prepare your food.
- Foods heavy in added sugars, such as soda and sweets, should be consumed in moderation.
- Saturated fat-rich foods, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy, and oils such as coconut and palm oil, should be avoided.
This diet advocates sticking to low-calorie liquids like water, tea, and coffee, saving from calibrated fresh fruit juice servings.
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The DASH diet could be a quick and easy strategy to lower blood pressure. Nevertheless, even though it can lower blood pressure, lowering daily salt intake to 3/4 teaspoon (1,500 mg) or less has not been connected to any clear health benefits, such as a lower risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, the DASH diet is extremely similar to the traditional low-fat diet, which has not been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease death in major controlled trials.
This diet may not be necessary for healthy people. However, if you have high blood pressure or suspect you’re salt-sensitive, DASH may be an excellent option.