Diet for high blood pressure or DASH diet
The DASH diet “ Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension ” , which means: dietary treatment to stop hypertension , was created with the intention of dealing with high blood pressure, since it predisposes to a decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels without the need for drugs.
High blood pressure
arterial hypertension (HT) is defined as an increase in blood pressure on the walls of the arteries .
According to the Joint National Committee on Detection, Evalutation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure , for a good diagnosis of hypertension, it is necessary to confirm the abnormal values obtained in a first evaluation, by at least two subsequent blood pressure measurements.
Blood pressure (BP) fluctuates between two values, the maximum, at the time of ventricular systole, and the minimum, at the time of diastole. normal values are found when systolic BP is less than 120mmHg and diastolic BP is less than 80mmHg. pre-hypertension is considered when the values are between 120 / 80mmHg and 140 / 90mmHg, and hypertension when these are equal to or greater than 140 / 90mmHg.
Normally hypertension is asymptomatic, although in more advanced stages it can cause headaches, nausea or vomiting, confusion and / or nasal bleeding. Also, untreated high blood pressure can lead to many diseases.
It is important to put a lot of emphasis on lifestyle modifications, such as: weight reduction in case of overweight or obesity, reduction of salt intake , increased physical activity , stopping the consumption of toxins (alcohol and tobacco) and acquisition of adequate eating habits , since these, they can play a fundamental role in the primary prevention and treatment of high blood pressure. This is where the DASH diet can be of great help.
Why is high blood pressure bad?
Hypertension is the most common condition seen in primary care. As we have seen previously, when it is not well controlled, HT can lead to:
- Myocardial infarction
- Kidney failure
That is why early detection and a proper approach are essential.
What is the DASH diet for blood pressure?
The DASH diet is based on incorporating:
- Whole grains: as the main source of energy and fiber, such as legumes and whole grains (bread, pasta, rice).
- Fruits and vegetables: For being good sources of potassium, magnesium and fiber.
- Skimmed dairy products: Sources of calcium and protein. They have to be skimmed or low in fat since the DASH diet reduces the consumption of saturated fat.
- Lean meat, poultry and fish: Sources of protein and magnesium. The consumption of red and processed meats will be avoided.
- Oils: Olive oil and margarine.
Therefore, the DASH diet is characterized by its high content in fruits, vegetables and dairy and the inclusion of whole grains, fish and low amounts of sweets and sugary drinks. It stands out for limiting the consumption of sodium, saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, enhancing the consumption of fiber, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
It is believed that it is the eating pattern as a whole, rather than a specific food or nutrient, that produces this reduction in blood pressure.
As its name indicates, this diet was designed with the aim of reducing high blood pressure, even so, other benefits were subsequently observed, such as decrease in LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol levels . With which, we could affirm that the DASH diet is ideal for preventing cardiovascular diseases , since it reduces these two risk factors.
Next, I propose a one-day menu to reduce HTN:
|Breakfast||Glass of skim milk
Toast wholemeal with turkey
|Mid-morning||Banana and walnuts|
|Food||Lentil and salmon salad
|Dinner||Brown rice with vegetables, mushrooms and chicken
Skimmed yogurt with raspberries
Other recommendations to lower blood pressure:
In addition to the DASH diet, if you have high blood pressure, I recommend following these recommendations:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Increase your physical activity.
- Learn to manage stress.
- Rest properly.
- Limit salt intake to 3-5g / day.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Give up tobacco.
- Read the label when buying any product and choose those that have a lower amount of sodium and salt.
- Choose fresh produce over processed, canned, or pre-cooked products. If this is not possible, rinse canned foods with water to remove excess sodium.
- Instead of adding salt to your meals, enhance their flavor with spices.
- When you go out to eat, order the food without added salt.
- Avoid pre-made sauces like mayonnaise, ketchup, and soy sauce.
Are we aware of the foods that contain more sodium?
Sodium occurs naturally in most foods, the bad thing is when sodium is added to foods . Cooking salt contains 40% sodium. It is important to know that much of the sodium we consume does not come from the salt shaker, but from these food products with added sodium, that is, prepared foods.
To check if the food has added sodium, it is necessary to check the labeling of the ingredients. The Daily Value can help you know if that food is high or low in sodium: 5% or less is low in sodium, and 20% or more is high in sodium. It is also necessary to recognize with what names we can find sodium in the labeling:
- Salt – Sodium chloride
- Sodium alginate
- Sodium benzoate
- Baking soda
- Sodium caseinate
- Sodium phosphate
- Monosodium glutamate
- Sodium hydroxide
- Baking powder
- Sodium nitrate
- Sodium propionate
- Garlic salt
- Sodium sulphite
Did you know that for each slice of sliced bread, we are consuming 400mg of sodium, that for each can of tuna 720mg and that 100g of fried tomato provide us with 620mg?
Now we look at the table of two dishes, and compare the amount of sodium that each one provides us:
|Spaghetti with fried tomato sauce||Spaghetti: 5mg
Canned tomato: 620mg
|Vegetable stew and hake||Stew canned: 310mg
Frozen hake: 160mg
|(Gr) total Sodium:||1.095mg||135.7mg|
In the case of fresh (homemade) products, sodium is consumed 10 times less than in the case of ready-made foods purchased at the supermarket (bought ). That is why whenever possible, remember to buy fresh produce whenever you visit the market.