Hypertension can be easily controlled with the right diet. The dash diet for weight loss is an excellent way to lower blood pressure in the long term. What the DASH diet is, how it works, and how to get started is easy to learn in this article.
This diet has fought the biggest risk factor for heart attack and stroke, hypertension. Hypertension remains unrecognized in about half of all those affected and thus unchecked massive damage in the body.
The reason: you cannot feel the blood pressure, but only measure. Dash diet meaning is meant for the abbreviation of Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. So this is about dietary strategies for hypertension.
What is the DASH diet?
Many people with high systolic pressure usually feel well for a long time, until they catch up with the consequences of their illness. The list of consequences of hypertension is long.
These include heart failure, stroke, blindness, and heart attack and many more. These consequences are caused by vascular damage, which can affect the entire body.
In addition to some factors that cannot be influenced, such as age, gender, and heredity, diet plays a major role in the development of high blood pressure. At the same time, blood pressure can be treated very well with the right nutrition.
This is where this diet comes into play. The aim of this low-fat dietary regime primarily lowers the blood pressure of hypertensive patients and not the loss of body fat, as is the case with many other “diets”.
Of course, in some patients due to the healthy dietary regime tumble the pounds. Because overweight is one of the causes of high arterial pressure. A recent study, which caused turmoil in professional circles, shows that after only four weeks of DASH diet plus low salt intake, the systolic blood pressure of study participants dropped by up to 9 mm Hg.
The average blood pressure of the participants was over 150 mm Hg. In order to reach a stable systolic pressure of 135 mm Hg, the participants would have lost more than 15 units.
In the short study alone, participants dropped nearly two-thirds of the target. They succeeded in doing so only through a healthy dietary regime and without additional medication.
The dash diet weight loss solution
This dietary regime includes consuming abundant fruits, vegetables, whole grains, as well as low amounts of lean fish and meat. Fat and dairy products, sweetened foods and high-salt foods are avoided.
This low-fat dietary regimen came about as a result of the recognition that a plant-based diet, as practiced by many vegetarians and vegans, is associated with healthy arterial pressure. For this reason, vegetables should be an essential part of every meal. Healthy sources of energy are whole grain cereals such as rye, spelled or whole grain rice, but also starchy vegetables such as potatoes, carrots or sweet potatoes. Lean meat, as well as fish and legumes, are on the menu as sources of protein. An essential part of the low-fat dietary regimen is the low salt content. Not more than one teaspoon of salt (2.3 mg sodium) should be consumed daily.
Low salt intake seems to lower blood pressure in healthy people as well as hypertensive patients. Anyone afraid of ever-dull food can be reassured. After only a few weeks, the sense of taste adapts to the low salt intake. The result: Even with a little salt, the food tastes well-seasoned. If you were to spice it up again, as in the old days, the food would taste over-salted. We can only suggest this self-experiment.
Avoid all salt added for a month, bake salt-free bread yourself at home and season with fresh and dried herbs.
You should refrain from these foods
The following foods should be avoided as much as possible:
- Red meat
- Processed meat (e.g. ham, bacon, and other sausages)
- Fatty meat (e.g. chicken legs or roast pork)
- High-fat dairy products (e.g. cheese)
- Fast food (e.g. pizza, fries, burgers, and Co.)
- Salted snacks (e.g. peanuts and pretzel sticks)
- Finished products (e.g. instant meals for the microwave or canned)
- Salted food
Acceptable dash diet food list
6-8 servings per day:
- Wholemeal (e.g. oatmeal, wholemeal pasta, low-salt whole-wheat bread)
- Pulses (e.g. lentils, chickpeas, beans)
4-5 servings per day:
- Vegetables (e.g. broccoli, spinach, carrots, onions)
- Fruits (e.g. apple, kiwi, oranges)
- Nuts and seeds (e.g. walnuts and flax seeds)
2-3 servings per day:
- Low-fat dairy products and herbal alternatives (e.g. yogurt, quark, soy yogurt, herbal drinks)
- Nuts and seeds (e.g. walnuts and flax seeds)
1-2 times a week:
- Lean meat and fish (e.g. salmon, sardines, chicken breast)
This is how you get started right
- Start by replacing saline with fresh and dried herbs. Give your taste buds three weeks to get used to the missing salt. In the beginning, your meals will surely be dull. However, after some time you will become accustomed to the low salt content.
- Now focus on gradually implementing our dietary recommendations. More whole-grain products and vegetables are easily absorbed by switching from white bread to wholemeal bread, having breakfast oatmeal in the morning and filling half the plate with fresh vegetables for lunch and dinner.
- Do not buy snacks and sweets anymore. Also, try to cook yourself as much as possible. The restaurant and convenience foods often use a lot of salt and fat.
- Give yourself enough time. Old habits cannot be changed within a month. Even if you have barely eaten vegetables at this time because you do not like whole grains and most hearty and salty foods – after a few months of gradual change, you’ll find your new food delicious and your new lifestyle more enjoyable. After all, the positive changes begin after the first conversion phase. You will probably lose weight, have more energy and a better mood. In addition to the increased quality of life, you also gain years of life.
Advantages and disadvantages of the diet
This dietary regime offers significant benefits in lowering venous pressure. Those who eat low in salt and plant-based can bring their blood pressure under control. In addition, the diet is rich in numerous nutrients and complex carbohydrates.
The body is thus optimally cared for and remains more efficient. An eating pattern that is rich in fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, is also very good.
One possible effect: fewer calories are consumed throughout the day. Thus, it could have a long-term positive effect on body weight without having to count calories.
Of course, it is often not easy to follow the diet. Those who travel a lot and cannot prepare their meals often have problems finding unprocessed and low-salt foods and dishes. Even active athletes should be careful not to restrict salt intake too much.
The DASH diet is also aimed primarily at high-pressure patients. Those who do not suffer from high arterial pressure or lose a lot of salt due to increased sweating should pay attention to adequate salt intake.
The essential nutritional aspects correspond to the general recommendations of the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) and create the perfect basis for a healthy body.
Who is the DASH diet suitable for?
This diet is particularly suitable for high blood pressure patients. Adults who already have slightly elevated venous pressure due to an unhealthy lifestyle or genetic predisposition can use it to prevent high blood pressure. This diet is not suitable for competitive athletes and children. People with low blood pressure and pregnant women should consult a doctor before getting started.
Dash diet recommendations
- Use fresh and dried herbs instead of salt
- Stew vegetables with water and avoid oil
- Complete vegetarian and vegan weekdays
- Switch from white bread to low-salt whole wheat bread
- During cravings drink carbonated water and eat fresh vegetables
- Exercise regularly and exercise in everyday life to further reduce venous pressure
Frequently Asked Questions
When reading this article, you might have some questions. Below we clarify the most common questions about this diet.
Can I drink alcohol during the DASH diet?
Those who drink alcohol regularly increase their arterial pressure. Thus, the contribution of alcohol consumption to hypertension is 16 percent worldwide.
Per 10 grams of alcohol consumed regularly, blood pressure increases by 1 mm Hg. This corresponds, for example, to a daily amount of 250 ml of beer or 100 ml of sparkling wine.
Not a big deal, don’t you think? In order to control your high blood pressure and do something good for your health, you should either completely avoid alcohol or limit your consumption to one or two glasses on the weekend.
May I drink coffee during the diet?
Caffeine from coffee and tea can increase blood pressure for a short time. People who regularly consume large amounts of caffeine and suffer from hypertension should be careful about this.
Recent studies indicate that regular caffeine intake causes a habituation effect on people with normal venous pressure. Although the caffeine ensures a short increase in blood pressure, this drops quickly back to a normal level. In hypertensive patients, this habituation effect does not seem to be present to the same extent.
In addition, the increase in blood pressure is about 30 percent more than in healthy people. A moderate intake of caffeine is therefore advisable. For 1-2 cups of coffee or tea a day, nothing is wrong. However, caution is advised with very high intake levels, especially with too much stress.
Knowledge to take away
The DASH diet is a nutritional strategy for hypertension. Salty and high-fat foods are forbidden. At the same time, vegetable foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds as well as whole grains and legumes are consumed abundantly.
Lean animal products such as poultry and low-fat dairy also are okay. This dietary regime is similar in many ways to the nutritional recommendations of the German Nutrition Society.
It works well and not only provides a proper approach to reducing blood pressure but is more generally a healthy diet that will help you stay fit and healthy over the long term and achieve success.