Dash Diet: Best Foods To Eat To Reduce Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure or youre looking to avoid developing it, there are several easy ways you can do so. Its as simple as introducing many tasty foods to your diet as part of the DASH diet to lower high blood pressure. In fact, many of the foods in the DASH diet may already be staples for you!
These blood pressure-reducing foods include the doctor-recommended four to five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, including green leafy vegetables, like kale, arugula, and broccoli. You can satisfy your sweet tooth by eating fruits like berries, kiwi, avocado, and bananas.
Consuming the right types of grains is also a good way to reduce your high blood pressure. The trendy quinoa and certain kinds of cereals are staples for reducing blood pressure.
As for dairy, a diet that includes two to three servings of certain dairy products, including skim milk and fat-free plain yogurt, can both lower your blood pressure and prevent you from developing hypertension in the first place.
Finally, lean meats, such as pork, poultry, and fish, can also help to greatly reduce high blood pressure. It is recommended that you get about two servings per day of lean pork and fish like Tilapia. Snacking on nuts, seeds, and legumes is also a good choice for protein four to five servings a week of flaxseed and white beans are recommended.
Related Articles: Foods that Raise Blood Pressure
How Does Diet Affect High Blood Pressure
Experts agree that changing your diet can lower your blood pressure. One of the first changes your doctor will recommend is reducing the amount of sodium you eat. Salty foods cause you to retain fluids, which can lead to an increase in blood pressure.
You should also focus on eating unprocessed foods that are rich in nutrients and fiber. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains should make up the core of your diet. Processed foods and refined grains and sugars are less helpful when trying to lower your blood pressure.
What you drink matters for cardiovascular health as much as what you eat. Alcohol, caffeinatedbeverages, and sugary sodas are shown to increase the risk of high blood pressure. Cutting back on these types of drinks will help you get your blood pressure down to your ideal levels.
- Protecting organs and other soft tissues
- Regulating your body temperature
Water directly benefits blood pressure by helping you maintain the correct electrolyte balance. You need both sodium and potassium in your body for optimal heart function. If you have too much of either one, your blood pressure can fluctuate, and your risk of heart attack or stroke increases. Staying hydrated helps keep up the balance of those two important nutrients.
High Blood Pressure And Diet
Making changes to your diet is a proven way to help control high blood pressure. These changes can also help you lose weight and lower your chance of heart disease and stroke.
Your health care provider can refer you to a dietitian who can help you create a healthy meal plan. Ask what your blood pressure target is. Your target will be based on your risk factors and other medical problems.
The low-salt Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet is proven to help lower blood pressure. Its effects on blood pressure are sometimes seen within a few weeks.
This diet is rick important nutrients and fiber. It also includes foods that are higher in potassium, calcium, and magnesium lower in sodium than the typical American diet.
The goals of the DASH diet are:
- Limit sodium to no more than 2,300 mg a day .
- Reduce saturated fat to no more than 6% of daily calories and total fat to 27% of daily calories. Low-fat dairy products appear to be especially beneficial for lowering systolic blood pressure.
- When choosing fats, select monounsaturated oils, such as olive or canola oil.
- Choose whole grains over white flour or pasta products.
- Choose fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Many of these foods are rich in potassium, fiber, or both.
- Eat nuts, seeds, or legumes daily.
- Choose modest amounts of protein . Fish, skinless poultry, and soy products are the best protein sources.
HEART HEALTHY DIET
Other tips include:
Also Check: How To Use Omron Blood Pressure Monitor
Best Foods To Eat For High Blood Pressure Say Dietitians
High blood pressure is a serious diagnosis, but it can be managed with the right lifestyle changes. Chances are if you’ve been told by a doctor that you have high blood pressure or are at greater risk for it, you’ve also been warned about certain foods to stay away from, such as salty foods like chips, canned soups, and deli meats.
But what about some of the foods you should add to your diet? Getting the right nutrients and caring for your overall health can help you manage your levels and keep your health in top shape. To learn more, we asked a few dietitians to give us their recommendations for the best food for high blood pressure.
Read on to learn what they had to say, and for more healthy heart tips, check out The Best Foods to Eat If Heart Disease Runs In Your Family.
Dash Diet Proteins: Lean Meats Fish And Pork Tenderloin
While lean meats are an essential part of the DASH diet, even the leanest cuts of meat still contain fat and cholesterol, so you should consider limiting your intake. Still, lean meats contain essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals, which all offer key nutritional benefits. A good balance can be achieved by cutting back on the amount of meat you consume by one-half to one-third and replacing it with vegetables. Trim any excess fat or skin from all cuts and broil, grill, or roast the lean meat, rather than frying it.
Eating fish, such as tilapia, is an excellent way to reduce cholesterol, since it contains omega-3 fatty acids. A four-ounce serving of tilapia contains eight percent of your recommended serving of magnesium and potassium. Its available year-round and is low in the toxins often found in other fish. It can be prepared a number of ways and can be combined with a number of fruits and vegetables for a healthy meal.
Pork tenderloin is one of the healthiest cuts of pork, with a three-ounce serving containing six percent of your recommended daily intake of magnesium and 15% of potassium. Its low in saturated fats, and you can get several meals out of a single cut.
You May Like: What Constitutes Low Blood Pressure
Foods That Help Lower Blood Pressure
Many researchers have found that certain foods can lower high blood pressure. We look at some foods that may help and how to incorporate them into the diet.
In general, the United States Department of Agriculture considers a serving to be:
- 1 cup of cooked or raw vegetables or fruit
- 1 cup of 100% fruit juice
- 2 cups of raw leafy salad greens
- half a cup of dried fruit
For most ages, the USDA recommends consuming around 2 cups of fruit per day and 3 cups of vegetables per day, although this varies slightly according to age and sex.
Why Is The Dash Diet The Best Diet To Lower High Blood Pressure
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet is a way of eating that, as the name implies, was developed to stop hypertension. Unlike many fad diets that have their time in the spotlight and then fizzle out, the DASH diet has been popular since the early 1990s and isn’t stopping any time soon, thanks to the results that have been seen by people following this diet.
If you are going to follow the DASH diet, plant-based foods will make up the bulk of your plate. Foods like fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes will be the shining stars, and ultra-processed foods that contain large amounts of added sugars and salt will only make a rare appearance.
Older data suggests that the DASH diet can lower blood pressure in as little as two weeks. And over and over again, results from large, randomized, controlled trials show that the DASH diet reduces blood pressure significantly. Because of this strong evidence, DASH has been a consistent part of national blood pressure and dietary guidelines.
Also Check: Can Lemon Juice Lower Blood Pressure
Foods That Lower Blood Pressure Quickly
Because diet can greatly affect blood pressure, many people wonder what they can eat to lower blood pressure fast. While there is not a single food that lowers blood pressure immediately, enjoying a healthy diet can help manage hypertensive condition.
Letâs look at what scientific research has revealed as to the best foods to eat to control hypertension.
Healthy Tips To Lower Blood Pressure
- Choose no salt added or low-sodium foods.
- Limit or avoid foods with high saturated and trans-fat content.
- Consume fresh vegetables and fruit.
- Choose lean cuts of meat, poultry, and fish.
- Use spices to flavor foods when cooking or eating.
- Prepare meals rather than pre-packaged or take-out meals.
- Have small portion sizes of food.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Drink water, low-fat dairy, and club soda.
When dealing with a high blood pressure diagnosis, there are changes you can make in lifestyle and dietary habits to reduce the risk of complications. High blood pressure may be a manageable condition by monitoring your intake of food and beverages. Regular exercise also is vital to living a healthy life with high blood pressure.
The DASH diet is a common recommendation by medical experts to lower blood pressure. Studies show that consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, low-sodium foods, and lean cuts of meat can not only lower high counts of blood pressure, but can also prevent complications such as stroke and heart disease.
Read Also: What Helps Raise Low Blood Pressure
Dash Diet: Reduce Hypertension And Boost Heart Health Through Diet
Hypertension, or high blood pressure as its more commonly known, is a serious health problem that affects many Americans. Over time, the damage that it causes to blood vessels can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and other medical conditions.
High blood pressure can go unnoticed for years, which is why it is called the silent killer. Many people do not display symptoms until it is too late. A diet designed to fight high blood pressure is one of the many ways you can reduce your risk of developing hypertension.
The DASH diet is one method. This diet aims to reduce high blood pressure by reducing your intake of fat, sodium, and alcohol. If youre looking to reduce your blood pressure, this diet also recommends eating foods that are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
The DASH diet also recommends introducing more low-fat protein into your diet, as well as whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables. This includes leafy greens, potatoes, beets, and fruits like berries and bananas. Drinking skim milk is another way to reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure as well. Eating oatmeal at breakfast is also a good start!
Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is considered a silent condition because there are usually no symptoms until some body organs are affected.
The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is by checking your blood pressure reading.
A sustained systolic blood pressure of at least 130 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure of at least 80 mm Hg indicates high blood pressure.
Risks And Complications Of High Blood Pressure
If youve been to see the doctor and they determine you have high blood pressure, they might decide to give you medications designed to lower it.
Medications may have different side effects. Consult your healthcare provider about possible complications of any medications you might take for your high blood pressure.
Doctors might also prescribe dietary changes after talking to you about your lifestyle and blood pressure. They will likely recommend that you exercise for 30 minutes a day, or get at least that much physical activity if you cant exercise.
With diet, medicine, and exercise, you can reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure and the other health problems that it can cause. Dietary changes and healthier lifestyles tend to reduce blood pressure and often lead to a longer, more enjoyable life.
How To Prevent High Blood Pressure And Ways To Lower It
“The good news is that you can take steps to prevent or manage high blood pressure,” Dr. Mitchell emphasizes. “Many risk factors for high blood pressure, such as obesity and stress, can be controlled by lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly can help to keep your blood pressure in check. In addition, managing stress through relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation can also help to reduce your risk of developing hypertension. For example, if you already have high blood pressure, there are medications available that can help to control it. Finally, work with your healthcare provider to find your best treatment plan. Taking steps to prevent or manage high blood pressure can help protect your health and reduce your risk of developing severe complications.”
Dr. Mitchell says this “doesn’t constitute medical advice and by no means are these answers meant to be comprehensive. Rather, it’s to encourage discussions about health choices.”
Recommended Reading: How Can You Lower Your Blood Pressure Quickly
High Blood Pressure In Older People
The target blood pressure reading for the over-80s is below 150/90 mmHg when its measured in the clinic or surgery, and below 145/85 mmHg for home readings.
While there are definite benefits from taking medicines to reduce blood pressure if youre under the age of 80, its less clear its useful if youre over 80.
Its now thought that if you reach 80 while youre taking medicine for high blood pressure, its fine to continue treatment provided its still helping you and is not causing side effects.
If youre diagnosed with high blood pressure and youre aged over 80, your doctor will also consider your other health risk factors when deciding whether to give you treatment for the high blood pressure.
Page last reviewed: 23 October 2019 Next review due: 23 October 2022
Comparison Of Sodium In Foods
Meats, poultry, fish, and shellfish
Food: Milligrams sodium
Fresh meat, 3 oz. cooked: Less than 90 mg
Shellfish, 3 oz: 100 to 325 mg
Tuna, canned, 3 oz: 300 mg
Lean ham, 3 oz.: 1,025 mg
*Whole milk, 1 cup: 120 mg
Skim or 1% milk, 1 cup: 125 mg
*Buttermilk , 1 cup: 260 mg
*Swiss cheese, 1 oz: 75 mg
*Cheddar cheese, 1 oz : 175 mg
Low-fat cheese, 1 oz.: 150 mg
*Cottage cheese , 1/2 cup: 455 mg
Food: Milligrams sodium
Fresh or frozen vegetables, and no-salt-added canned , 1/2 cup: Less than 70 mg
Vegetables canned or frozen , 1/2 cup: 55-470 mg
Tomato juice, canned, 3/4 cup: 660 mg
Breads, cereals, rice and pasta
Food: Milligrams sodium
Bread, 1 slice: 110-175 mg
English muffin : 130 mg
Ready-to-eat, shredded wheat, 3/4 cup: Less than 5 mg
Cooked cereal , 1/2 cup: Less than 5 mg
Instant cooked cereal, 1 packet: 180 mg
Canned soups, 1 cup: 600-1,300 mg
Food: Milligrams sodium
Canned and frozen main dishes, 8 oz: 500-1,570 mg
*These can also be high in saturated fat, unless low-fat or reduced fat options are purchased.
*High in saturated fat.
Read Also: Is Pork Bad For High Blood Pressure
How Is Hypertension Diagnosed
Blood pressure is measured with a pressure cuff placed around the upper arm and manually or electronically inflated. When inflated, the cuff compresses the brachial artery, the major blood vessel of the upper arm, stopping blood flow briefly. Then the air in the cuff is released slowly while the person performing the measurement listens with a stethoscope or monitors an electronic readout.
Adults 20 years of age and older should have their blood pressure checked during regular doctor visits.
Blood pressure is expressed in two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure : measures the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart beats
- Diastolic blood pressure : measures the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart is at rest between beats
High, elevated, and normal blood pressure is usually defined in the following ranges in the table below.
Vegetables For High Blood Pressure
Like fruit, vegetables are full of potassium, magnesium, and fiber that help bring your blood pressure down. Keep in mind, you may need to eat more than you normally would for them to have an effect. The DASH plan recommends 4 to 5 servings of vegetables a day. From breakfast to dinner, that might look like 1 cup of raw spinach, half a cup of steamed broccoli, and 6 ounces of vegetable juice.
There are plenty of ways to work vegetables into your day: Throw spinach into your smoothie eat a salad with dinner munch on carrot sticks at lunch.
Stock up on these veggies that are rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber:
Don’t Miss: How To Bring Your Blood Pressure Down Naturally
Causes Of High Blood Pressure
Several factors can cause high blood pressure:
- Inactive lifestyle: If you dont get enough physical exercise, your blood pressure can rise because your heart isnt as efficient as it could be.
- Unhealthy Diet
- Genetics: Your genes may have a part to play in high blood pressure because some people have a naturally higher blood pressure than others.
- Overweight: People with high body mass indexes generally have higher blood pressure.
- Bad lifestyle choices:Smoking, smokeless tobacco use, and drinking alcohol all increase your blood pressure.