The DASH Diet to control blood pressure and lose weight is a healthy proposal based on a balanced eating plan. Low in salt and saturated fat, this diet limits the consumption of certain foods, as well as being rich in minerals, protein and fiber.

We all know that consuming too much salt in our diet can contribute to high blood pressure or hypertension. Therefore, following the recommendations of the DASH Diet can help prevent high blood pressure or lower it in people who already suffer from this problem.

Although some foods contain natural salt, this may not be enough when it comes to processing or cooking the food and therefore salt is usually added, even knowing how harmful it can be to health since it is only recommended to consume less than 2,300 sodium in the daily diet.

A useful and interesting information we share today from 100dietas.com since the DASH Diet is a new approach from healthy eating to prevent or slow the advance of hypertension, a problem that affects millions of people around the world.

What is the DASH Diet

The DASH Diet, to control blood pressure and lose weight , is based on the consumption of certain healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits and dairy products with a low fat content, limiting the intake of red meat, sweets and sugary drinks.

Rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, protein and fiber, the DASH Diet stands out as a healthy plan that provides the body with elements such as lycopene, beta carotene and isoflavones that help protect the body from different diseases such as osteoporosis, stroke and diabetes.

But one of the most important aspects of the DASH Diet is that it is a balanced and healthy eating plan that helps reduce the risk of hypertension by reducing levels of low-density lipoprotein, also known as bad cholesterol or LDL.

How to do the DASH Diet

The most important principle of the DASH Diet is that it reduces high blood pressure because it reduces the amount of sodium in the diet thanks to a healthy and balanced eating plan to which at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical exercise must be added, so least three times a week.

This is a healthy eating plan, such as the Mediterranean Diet , that can be followed by all people and in particular by those who want to prevent or control high blood pressure, in addition to helping to lose a few extra kilos. Most people who follow this diet benefit from reduced sodium intake.

The consumption of up to 2,300 milligrams a day of sodium is normal for those who do not suffer from high blood pressure, but for those who suffer from this problem they should reduce it to 1,500 mg a day, something that is also recommended for those who have diabetes, chronic kidney disease or people over 51 years old.

With the DASH Diet it is possible to eat from all the food groups but it is advisable to consume more of those that are naturally low in salt and saturated fat and also adding those that are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium and fiber.

This diet adds about 2,000 calories a day and the menus are made up of vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, lean meats, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts, and vegetable oils. Already sweets should be limited to less than five servings per week.

However, you need to know the allowable serving sizes for each food group:

  • Vegetables, raw or cooked, the measure will be by cups, while in fruits it can be done by pieces of 150 grams. or half a cup that would give the same proportion.
  • Cereals, dried fruits, legumes, rice and cooked pasta, sorbet, milk and yogurt are also measured by cups, while cheese will be measured in grams, as will meat, fish and poultry, while bread will be by slices
  • All fats and oils used in this diet should be measured by tablespoons the same as margarine and salad dressings, sugar and jams, thus being easy to calculate the appropriate portions and amounts for each menu.

Some tips to reduce salt in the diet

Reducing salt in the diet is healthy for everyone even when they do not have hypertension, so here are some tips to achieve it:

  • Remove the salt shaker from the table.
  • Season foods with herbs and spices instead of using salt, also adding lemon or vinegar in the case of salads.
  • Avoid consuming canned food.
  • Check food labels for sodium content.
  • Choose foods that contain less than 5% of the daily value for sodium.
  • Prefer versions of foods that are low in sodium.
  • Reduce foods and condiments that have a lot of salt (pickles, olives, cold cuts, tomato sauce, soy sauce, mustard).

What to eat on the DASH Diet

The nutrition of the DASH Diet is balanced and balanced for good health. You do not have to buy any special foods or pills or cook special recipes to follow the DASH diet. If you follow the DASH diet, you will consume about 2,000 calories a day. These calories will come from a variety of foods.

The DASH Diet was developed for the first time to reduce blood pressure in patients who suffered from this problem, but later a calorie reduction was also made on the same plan, which is why today it is also a recommended method to lose weight.

Based on the nutritional pyramid, this diet suggests a higher consumption of fruits and separates the vegetable proteins from the animals, also proposing the consumption of legumes, nuts and seeds, limiting the consumption of fat and increasing the amount of fiber and minerals ingested associated to achieve lower pressure in the arteries.

For two years in a row, the DASH Diet was selected as the best and healthiest eating plan for hypertensive patients, as well as for diabetics and people who are overweight.

The consumption of sodium, saturated fat is limited and the intake of vegetables, fruits, fish, low-fat milk and other low-calorie dairy products is promoted, recommending a total daily fat content of 27% of the total consumed each day .

Tips for following the DASH Diet

Some tips for following this diet can be useful to organize your daily menus:

  • Use various herbs and spices to replace table salt.
  • Avoid smoked, sausage, canned, processed or preserved meats.
  • Choose lean red meat, skinless chicken, and low-fat fish.
  • Always serve moderate portions with main meals and appetizers.
  • Avoid frozen meals, concentrated soups and broths, and salad dressings.
  • Start the day with a good breakfast based on cereals low in sodium and without added salt.
  • Cook pasta, rice, and other cereals without salt.
  • Prefer water to replace sodas with high sugar content.
  • Limit the consumption of industrially processed foods that are high in salt.

Sample DASH Diet Menu

Below is an example of a DASH Diet menu that is equivalent to 1 day and provides approximately 1800. For best results it is important to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily.

Sample DASH Diet Menu

Breakfast

  • 1 cup of skim milk tea with sweetener.
  • 1 slice of toasted wheat bread.
  • ½ banana.

Midmorning

  • 1 natural skimmed yogurt.
  • ½ cup of whole grains without sugar.

Lunch

  • 200 grams grilled skinless chicken with oregano.
  • 1 salad of ½ cucumber, ½ tomato, ½ onion and lettuce leaves with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and no salt.
  • 2 slices of wheat bread.

Mid afternoon

  • 1 cup of unsweetened fruit salad.
  • 1 cup of skim milk tea with sweetener.
  • 1 glass of orange juice.
  • 50 grams of raisins.
  • 50 grams of almonds.

price

  • 200 grams grilled fish.
  • ½ cup of cooked brown rice without salt.
  • 1 slice of wheat bread.
  • 1 piece of fruit.

Variants of the DASH Diet

As the DASH Diet was created for the prevention and treatment of hypertension, there are numerous similar plans that not only have food as their main factor but also the way to cook and preserve them.

Actually, there is no ideal eating plan for hypertensive people and that is why the DASH Diet is so well recognized since, in addition to being healthy, it provides sufficient amounts of nutrients that meet daily needs to keep fit and enjoy good health.

The role of diet is essential to prevent and treat high blood pressure, being the cornerstone that supports the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

Reducing salt intake is the main measure for anyone who wants to prevent hypertension or for those who have already been diagnosed as hypertensive.

The daily salt needs for anyone, therefore it is recommended to use less salt when cooking food and replace it with pepper, aromatic herbs, garlic, lemon juice or spices whenever possible.

Other recommendations for a diet for hypertensive patients other than DASH is to choose olive oil, products with a low amount of sodium in their industrial preparation, avoiding smoked or very salty meats, sausages in general and especially ham or bacon and when the restriction in the consumption of salt is greater, common salt can be replaced by potassium or magnesium.

An alternative diet to DASH is the dietary treatment of HT, which consists of a
reduction in salt intake, a higher intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, olive oil, and foods that contain little fat.

The HTA diet also recommends limiting the consumption of alcohol and exciting substances such as caffeine that cause a significant increase in blood pressure. The allowed is less than 30 grams of alcohol per day for men and less than 20 grams for women and no more than two or three coffees a day.

Finally, this HTA dietary treatment recommends improving healthy lifestyle habits such as physical exercise, not smoking, and weight control.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the DASH Diet

The DASH Diet has been designed especially for patients with hypertension but it is also ideal for losing weight since it is recommended to consume fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products and restricted carbohydrates, limited consumption of salt and good daily hydration, in short, healthy living at any stage of life. 

Advantages of the DASH Diet controls hypertension and helps you lose weight

Control and lower blood pressure and the rate of bad cholesterol without resorting to drugs.

It is not necessary to count calories but to focus more on the foods you eat daily to also lose weight.

Accelerates metabolism thanks to a change in eating habits.

You avoid suffering the yo-yo or rebound effect common to many other diets.

Disadvantages of the DASH Diet to control blood pressure and lose weight

It is a high fiber diet and can cause bloating.
It can cause constipation so drink enough water daily.

DASH Diet Recipes

The DASH Diet has been distinguished in 2012 and 2014 as the best diet to prevent and control high blood pressure according to a report published by US News & World Report.

There are numerous recipes for meals as well as snacks or appetizers that are very useful when organizing the daily menu to carry out this diet. These are simple dishes, easy to prepare and with a lot of flavor and here we share some of them.

Healthy snack

This is a very easy recipe to prepare for appetizers that are ideal for that mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of chickpeas rinsed, drained and dried.
  • 2 cups of wheat cereal.
  • 1 cup of dehydrated pineapple chunks.
  • 1 cup of raisins.
  • 2 tablespoons of honey.
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder.

Preparation

Cover a baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a frying pan, place 1 teaspoon of olive oil and add the drained canned chickpeas and cook for 10 minutes.

Transfer the chickpeas to the baking dish and cook in a preheated oven at 200ºC until crisp, about 20 minutes.

In the same pan in which the chickpeas were cooked, place the cereal, the pineapple and the raisins and cook for 2 minutes, add the toasted chickpeas and mix.

In a mug combine the honey, Worcestershire sauce and spices, mix well and pour over the ingredients in the pan.

Mix all the ingredients and place in a preheated oven at 180º C for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Cinnamon Ginger Iced Blackberry Tea

A refreshing drink based on blackberry tea, this recipe is ideal to enjoy especially in the summer since, in addition to hydrating the body, it provides a feeling of satiety and quenches thirst.

 

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of water
  • 12 blackberry herbal tea bags.
  • 8 cinnamon sticks.
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger.
  • 1 cup of unsweetened cranberry juice.
  • Sweetener to taste.
  • Crushed ice cubes.

Preparation

In a large pot, heat the water and before it starts to boil add the tea bags, 2 of the cinnamon sticks and the grated or minced ginger.

Remove from the heat, cover and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Once the specified time has elapsed, pass the cinnamon and ginger tea mixture through a fine mesh strainer and place in a jug.

Add to the preparation the sweetener to taste, mix and take to the refrigerator.

Serve in tall glasses with crushed ice and garnish with cinnamon sticks.

Baked chicken with brown rice

This Baked Chicken with Brown Rice recipe is a complete dish that can be served for both lunch and dinner. It is easy to prepare and very tasty as vegetables, aromatic herbs such as tarragon and dry white wine are added.

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken breast halves.
  • 1 and ½ cups of chopped celery.
  • 1 and ½ cups of onion.
  • 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon.
  • 2 cups of unsalted chicken broth.
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of dry white wine.
  • 2 cups of cooked brown rice.

Preparation

Clean the chicken breasts, wash, dry and cut them into small cubes.

In a bowl, place the chopped chicken, chopped celery, chopped onion, tarragon and 1 cup of the unsalted chicken broth, mixing everything and letting it marinate for half an hour.

Place the mixture in a pan with a teaspoon of olive oil and cook over medium heat until the chicken and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.

In a baking dish, mix the wine, 1 cup of the broth and the cooked brown rice, add the chicken preparation and place everything in a baking dish.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and cook in a preheated oven at 200ºC for about 15 minutes.

Remove and serve hot.

Apple muffins

A delicious and healthy dessert, these apple muffins are tasty and perfect when you want to eat a sweet snack.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour.
  • ½ cup of sugar.
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda.
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil.
  • ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce.
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
  • 2 cups of grated apple.
  • ½ cup of raisins.
  • ¾ cup of grated carrot.
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts.

Preparation

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon and mix all the dry ingredients well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla, raisins and carrots.

Add the previous preparation over the flour mixture and mix all the ingredients well until a homogeneous dough is obtained.

Pour the mixture into special muffin molds, sprinkle with the chopped walnuts.

Cook the muffins in a preheated oven at 180º C for about 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place the muffins on a wire rack and cool.

Conclusions on the DASH Diet

The DASH Diet is a healthy eating plan that combines research gathered from two key studies conducted by the United States Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), in which it was shown to be truly effective.

Thus, researchers from four medical centers, including Brigham Hospital and women’s hospital in Boston, Massachusetts and medical institutions such as John Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland, found that the DASH diet efficiently lowered blood pressure and was also a good plan for slim down.

Maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity, quitting smoking, reducing the consumption of alcohol and sodium in the diet helps reduce blood pressure and the DASH Diet offers an excellent proposal so that people who adopt it can not only reduce your high blood pressure without using medication, but also prevent this disease through a healthier life.

Dr. Thomas Moore, director of the original study, which developed the DASH Diet and is also the founder of “DASH for Health,” the only online program that teaches the DASH diet, claims that it is possible to control high blood pressure by following this healthy plan.

Taking into account that high blood pressure is a disease that can cause serious heart disease and even stroke, blindness or kidney disease, there is no doubt that the DASH Diet is an excellent alternative for the millions of people who suffer from this ailment in the world.

Sources and references

Chilean Society of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery
Beyond sodium: changes in diet and their effect on hypertension

Pilar Matía Martín, Edurne Lecumberri Pascual and Alfonso L. Calle Pascual.
Endocrinology and Nutrition Service. San Carlos Clinical Hospital. Madrid.
Nutrition and Metabolic Syndrome

M.Á.Valero Zanuy Endocrinology and Nutrition Service, Hospital 12 de Octubre, Madrid, Spain
Nutrition and arterial hypertension