If your doctor diagnoses you with hypertension – another name for high blood pressure – you may be able to eat your way through it. The DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. You consume foods that lower blood pressure on this diet. It is that simple.
But, what foods are in a high blood pressure diet, and is it a meal plan you can stick to? Some of the best foods to lower blood pressure are ingredients you already love. By altering your diet to meals with less sodium and more nutrients, you can lower your blood pressure and lead a healthier life.
Foods to Reduce Blood Pressure
You can reduce your hypertension a few points in just a few weeks by sticking to a DASH diet. Essentially, the regime is a low-sodium diet with ingredients that lower blood pressure.
DASH diet recipes include ingredients that are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. DASH foods are those you normally associate with a healthy diet:
- 6 to 8 servings of whole grains, such as bread, cereal, pasta, and rice
- 4 to 5 servings of fruits, like apples, bananas, berries, dates, and oranges
- 4 to 5 servings of vegetables, including broccoli, carrots, greens, and tomatoes
- 2 to 3 servings of low-fat dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.
When it comes to protein, DASH diet recipes favor lean meat, poultry, fish, and nuts and recommend consuming less than six ounces daily. For instance, an ounce is one egg, two egg whites, or two tablespoons of peanut butter.
The diet also considers how you prepare these ingredients. Even kale can be unhealthy if it is deep-fried in lard and heavily dosed with salt. Opt for baking, grilling, roasting, and broiling over frying in fat.
You can still have sweets on the DASH diet. Some low-fat treats you can have include jellybeans, graham crackers, and sorbets. However, you should still avoid sugar when you can and choose artificial sweeteners as alternatives.
These foods, and the diet, are also beneficial in preventing cancer, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and osteoporosis. Similarly, the DASH diet can also result in you losing excess weight.
A healthy diet can also reduce the risk of you developing high blood pressure in the future. A healthy diet is what you put into your body, but it is also what you do not.
What Not to Consume a the DASH Diet
The number one avoidance in a hypertension diet is sodium. When buying food, select goods with “low sodium” or “no added salt” on the labels. You can also rinse foods, like canned goods, of added salt before preparing them.
Try out different spices when cooking. You may find that other herbs better flavor your dishes than basic salt.
Alcohol and caffeine are not good for your health if you have hypertension. The DASH diet does not include alcohol or caffeinated ingredients in its recipes.
Consuming too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure. Many dietary guidelines recommend not drinking or limiting your intake to one drink a day.
Caffeine causes a temporary rise in blood pressure. You can cut down your caffeine intake slowly by switching to a low-caffeinated tea.
DASH Diet Recipes
When creating your DASH diet meal plan, you will want to have a variety of recipes on hand. Start gathering DASH diet recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner by research meals that include your favorite flavors.
To help you stick to your DASH diet plan, make sure to try different dishes so your palette does not get bored from eating the same thing over and over again. A healthy meal might surprise you with a delicious taste.
Start your morning with a healthy breakfast that is fast and easy. You can make variances of the following five options with your favorite ingredients:
- 1 cup of low-fat Greek yogurt with berries and fruit
- 1 cup of oatmeal with peanut butter or cinnamon
- 2 egg whites with avocado on toast
- 1 cup of mixed fruits (try as a smoothie for breakfast on the go)
- 1 egg omelet loaded with vegetables
If you have more time in the morning, you can also get innovative. There are many DASH diet recipes for breakfast, such as pumpkin waffles and grilled bananas.
Drink herbal tea, decaffeinated coffee, or low-fat milk instead of caffeinated coffee or fruit juices high in sugar.
If you are hesitant to fully commit to the DASH diet, you can make small gradual changes until the new regime is a comfortable habit. Consider adding any of the three following lunchtime meals into your routine.
Make a spinach salad using 4 cups of fresh spinach leaves. For a zingy flavor, add a sliced pear, ½ cup of mandarin orange chunks, 1/3 cup of almonds, and sprinkle with a red wine vinaigrette.
When it comes to salads, you can use any of the foods that lower blood pressure to flavor your choice of greens. For example, you can add red and yellow peppers, citrus fruits, salmon, beans, berries, and tomatoes.
For tuna salad, drain and mix ½ cup of unsalted tuna with 2 tablespoons of light mayonnaise. Add some crunch with ¼ cup of diced celery or grapes. Serve in a romaine lettuce wrap, with crackers, or as a sandwich.
You can also switch the tuna for chicken and season with herbs that may lower high blood pressure, such as:
- Celery seed.
Go wild with a curried chicken wrap by chopping 2/3 cup of cooked chicken and ½ cup of apple. Combine both with 1 to 2 tablespoons of light mayonnaise and ½ teaspoon of curry powder.
There is an endless supply of DASH diet recipes for dinner. If you are creating a DASH diet meal plan for a week, consider making large-portion dishes. You can use foods to reduce blood pressure in a casserole for a quick meal throughout the week.
You can flavor a chicken casserole in multiple ways using specific spices and added ingredients. For a Mexican flavor, combine brown rice, boneless chicken breast, diced tomatoes, black beans, and corn kernels with cumin and chili powder.
Stir-fry is a popular DASH diet meal. From classic to asparagus and turkey stir-fry, you can make many diverse dishes. Use olive instead of vegetable oil.