a way of eating designed to prevent hypertension

DASH is the acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or what is the same, are those food approaches to stop hypertension. Therefore, the dash diet is the healthy eating plan that is designed and intended to help treat and prevent high blood pressure. But it can also help us lose a few extra kilos.

What foods should I not consume if I am a hypertensive person?

What foods should I not consume if I am a hypertensive person?


What is the Dash diet?

This dietary pattern was Created by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in the late 1990s and first presented at an American Heart Association meeting in 1996 and then published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1997.

It is based on reducing the amount of sodium ingested below the 2.3 grams in the normal Dash and below the 1.5 grams in the low-sodium Dash.

These recommendations are based on studies such as the one that revealed, after several years of research, that there is a relationship between diet and blood pressure.

The NIH researchers then considered that it was possible to lower blood pressure with a few changes in diet, no need for medication. In addition to decreasing the amount of sodium, the goal is also to increase the content of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as well as minerals that help improve hypertension.

Therefore, the Dash diet places emphasis on those foods rich in these nutrientsas well as fiber that, combined, help lower blood pressure.

Beyond reducing sodium consumption and increasing certain nutrients, the general recommendations for this diet are, according to the Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition (SEEN):

  • Avoid the consumption of ultra-processed or pre-cooked products.
  • Use cooking seasonings such as pepper, paprika, saffron, vinegar, lemon, garlic or onion and aromatic herbs such as bay leaves, oregano or parsley.
  • Prioritize canned fish for natural salads, but in moderation.
  • Avoid using meat or fish stock cubes to cook.
  • Avoid consumption of carbonated and stimulant drinks.
  • ingest at least three fruits a day (better whole) and two to three skimmed dairy up to date.
  • Prioritize those cooking techniques that do not add much fat, such as griddle, oven, broil, steam or microwave.
  • Avoid the consumption of batters and fried foods.
  • Take of 1.5 to two liters of water up to date.
  • Prioritize the consumption of fish and lean meat.
  • Limit consumption of red meat to at least once a week.
  • If bread is consumed, it must not exceed 30 grams and must be integral and without salt.

The diet specifies a number of servings from each of the recommended food groups. The exact number depends on the caloric needs of each person (depending on factors such as age, sex or the physical activity they practice), with plans based on 1,600, 2,000 or 2,600 calories per day. Therefore, a certain degree of meal planning is required.

For example, in a guideline based on 2,000 calories per day, the diet would include:

  • Fruits and vegetables: four to five servings a day
  • Cereals: six to eight servings a day
  • Low-fat milk and milk alternatives: two to three servings a day.
  • Lean meat, chicken and fish: about 150 grams a day
  • Nuts, seeds and legumes: four to five servings a week
  • Oils and fats: two to three servings a day.
  • Sweets, sweets and added sugars: less than five servings a week.
  • Sodium: 2.3 grams per day.

What other benefits does the Dash diet have, besides helping to lower blood pressure?

The Dash diet has also been shown to have other health benefits:

  • Helps relieve gout: This type of diet reduces uric acid levels, something that can benefit people with gout.
  • Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes: In the same way that happens with the Mediterranean diet, the Dash diet would help not only to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes but also to improve insulin resistance.
  • Promotes weight loss: As we have already discussed, some people who follow the Dash diet can see how they lose weight thanks to the reduction in the amount of foods high in fats and sugars, as well as caloric restriction.
  • Helps reduce the risk of certain types of cancer: some studies have shown that there is a relationship between the Dash plan and a lower incidence of some types of cancer thanks to the fact that it is rich in fiber and nutrients, evidence, however, that needs more studies to corroborate the exact mechanism.

All these benefits are more evident if the diet is accompanied by a series of healthy habits such as not smoking, exercising daily or avoiding alcohol. And always under the supervision of a nutrition specialist.

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