Nutrition News: Make Food Your Medication for High Blood Pressure

Way back in the 1990’s,  researchers form John Hopkins, Duke and Harvard and Dr. Dean Ornish wrote a book about the Dash Diet for High Blood Pressure, (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).   It was a beginning to investigate the effects of a flexible diet and the effect of blood pressure.  After 8 weeks of eatng this DASH diet, blood pressure levels were substantially reduced.  Well, it’s back.

Was there any magic to the routine or serious restrictions? Not really.  It was all about eating real foods, making better choices around processed foods and junk foods.  Today – the Rx is the same.  The dietary pattern of nutrient -rich foods working together make sure the body obtains the proper nutrients such as potassium , calcium and magnesium which are beneficial to one’s health and lowered blood pressure.  Supplements help, but it is found that the body prefers to obtain it’s vitamins and minerals from real food.  It has shown that there is a pattern of foods, the combinations of vitamins, antioxidants and proteins that help with reducing inflammation.  Combining the reduction of sodium and refined grains along with using the concept of the DASH diet have shown success in reducing hypertension along with weight loss and improved overall health. ( Get, The DASH Diet Action Plan by Maria Heller M.S.R.D.) A recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Sept 2012, a program was featured that included the DASH diet. The program  offered the Dash diet components, counseling and exercise and helped individuals who were sedentary, overweight/obese with hypertension, lose and average 19 pounds as well as lower their blood pressure levels in a moderate amount of time.  What they were doing was changing their lifestyles.

In a nutshell- the DASH diet is comprised of low saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat and emphasizes fruits, vegetables and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.  It also advocates for whole grain products, fish, poultry, nuts and seeds and is low in lean red meat, sweets added sugars and sugar containing beverages.  Of course- it is also lower in sodium than the typical American diet- between 1500-2300mg per day. Meal plans for various caloric intake are available at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/.  The DASH diet got a big plug as being ‘The Best Diet Overall” from U.S.News.  Even if you don’t have high blood pressure, the effects of eating well, keeping sodium and fat intake low, adding moderate exercise and stress management is the key to a healthier life.

If this or any other component of your lifestyle and wellness needs some adjustment, contact me for a complimentary consult to address your concerns.  There is no cookie cutter plan, each individual faces their own obstacles and needs their own individualized plan.

 

Be Well, Mary

 

 

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