UNDERSTANDING- The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)
What’s special about the DASH Diet? Research has shown that the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet is a very effective eating plan to help lower blood pressure. The DASH approach encourages a high intake of fruits and vegetables (8-10 servings each day); a regular intake of low-fat and non-fat dairy foods (2-3 servings each day); and small servings of meat, poultry and fish (up to 2 servings each day).
“Boost” Your Nutrition! A diet rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium can play an important role in achieving healthy blood pressure. Eat the following foods regularly to increase the nutritional value of your diet:
Fresh Vegetables & Fruits: choose fresh, frozen or no-salt added canned vegetables whenever possible. Great choices include: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, green leafy vegetables, oranges, bananas, melons, apples, pears and peaches.
Low-fat Dairy Foods: choose non-fat or 1% milk, yogurt, fat-reduced cheese. If you have trouble digesting dairy foods, try taking lactase enzyme pills or drops with the dairy foods. Many lactose-free products are available. Look for calcium and Vitamin D fortified soy milk or lactose-free milk (such as Lactaid).
Whole Grains: choose whole grain breads, cereals, wheat germ, bran and oats to get added nutrients, such as minerals and fiber.
Getting Started Make gradual changes
Start with your vegetable intake… add to your typical daily meals an extra serving of vegetables at lunch and another serving at dinner.
If you don’t eat fruit now or have only juice at breakfast, add a serving to your meals or have it as a snack.
Gradually increase your use of fat-free and low-fat dairy foods to two to three servings a day. For example, drink milk with lunch or dinner instead of soda, sugar-sweetened tea or alcohol. Choose lowfat (1%) or fat-free (skim) dairy products to reduce your intake of saturated fat, total fat, cholesterol and calories containing ingredients. Most restaurants are willing to accommodate requests.
Know your terms: words like “pickled,” “cured,” “soy sauce” and “ broth” indicate a higher sodium content.
Move the salt shaker away. Choose pepper or salt-free seasonings instead.
Limit condiments such as mustard, catsup, pickles and sauces with salt-containing ingredients.
Choose fruits or vegetables instead of salty snack foods.
What about desserts and snacks?
Fruits and other low-fat foods offer great taste and variety. Use fruits canned in their own juice. Fresh fruits require little or no preparation. Dried fruits are a good choice to carry with you or to have in the car.
Try these snack ideas: unsalted pretzels or nuts mixed with raisins; graham crackers; low fat or fat-free frozen yogurt; and popcorn with no-salt or butter added. Best option: a variety of raw vegetables.
Breakfast 1/2 cup bran cereal 1 small banana 1 cup fat-free milk OR 1/2 cup regular oatmeal, with 1 tsp cinnamon and sugar substitute 1/2 English muffin 2 Tbsp raisins 1 cup fat-free milk 1 Tbsp fat-free cream cheese
Lunch 3 oz turkey breast 2 slices wheat bread 8 oz skim milk 1 lg leaf romaine lettuce 2 slices tomato 2 tsp low fat mayonnaise 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard 1 cup carrot sticks 1 medium orange OR 1/2 cup tuna salad 1 lg leaf romaine lettuce 2 slices wheat bread 1/2 cup 1% or 2% cottage cheese 1 cup canned pineapple (unsweetened) 4 small celery sticks 2 Tbsp fat-free ranch dressing
Dinner 3 oz. Turkey meatloaf 1 Tbsp catsup 1 small baked potato 1 tsp soft margarine 1 Tbsp low fat sour cream 1 scallion stalk, chopped 1 cup collard greens, cooked from frozen 1 medium peach 1 cup fat free milk OR 3 oz white fish 1 tsp lemon juice 2/3 cup brown rice, long grain 1/2 cup spinach, cooked 1 small corn bread muffin 1 tsp soft margarine
Snacks (2-3 servings/day) 1 cup non-fat fruit yogurt (no sugar added) 2 - 4 Tbsp raisins or other dried fruit 2 - 3 graham cracker squares with 1 Tbsp peanut butter 1/3 cup almonds or other unsalted nuts