The dash diet for high blood pressure is a well-known lifestyle to keep this condition in check. Many people have heard of it, but they might not know exactly what the diet consists of.
Others know of it, but think it might not be easy to follow. The truth is, blood pressure pills can have side effects. That is why people prefer to lower blood pressure through dietary methods.
In some cases, a good diet is not enough. People with chronic high blood pressure should not just go on and off blood pressure pills as soon as the blood pressure lowers. This is extremely unhealthy for the body.
There can be horrible side effects to stopping and starting blood pressure pills. Even though blood pressure pills can have side effects, the patient should consult the doctor before stopping.
Sometimes these pills need to be weaned off, and in other cases, it is too risky to have the patient stop taking the pills completely. The doctor might switch the prescription to other pills instead of just having a patient stop.
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So one might wonder why the dash diet for high blood pressure is still purported. It is popular because food such as salt can higher blood pressure. People need salt or they will develop a condition like gout from lack of iodine. So cutting salt out completely of the diet is not an option. However, moderating the amount of salt that one consumes can help to keep blood pressure from skyrocketing.
According to the Mayo Clinic, following the DASH diet over two weeks can help to reduce the blood pressure by two points. What is even more promising is that over the period of a longer span, systolic pressure can drop eight to fourteen points. This is great progress in the condition. As one can see though, this lifestyle change helps moderate high blood pressure but it is not a complete solution to the condition.
Often patients present with blood pressure that is 160 or higher on the systolic level. Reducing this by even fourteen points will still mean the blood pressure is 146. That is still in the range of blood pressures that are two high.
A normal systolic rate is 120 or lower. People need to take pills to reduce the rate low enough unless they only suffer from hypertension and not high blood pressure.
The dash diet for high blood pressure involves a lot of fruits and vegetables. It also incorporates a high volume of low-fat dairy products. Proteins are consumed in moderation, but this is normal as healthy people only need two servings of protein a day.
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There are two versions of the dash diet for high blood pressure to choose from. The first is the standard dash diet and the other is the low sodium version. The standard diet allows for the consumption of up to 2300 milligrams of sodium a day.
The lower sodium version maxes out at 1500 mg per day. The choice of which one really depends on the advice of the doctor and the severity of the high blood pressure.
Interestingly, most Americans get an average of 3400 mg of sodium per day according to the Mayo Clinic. This is more than twice the amount that those on the low sodium diet are allowed to consume.
The American Heart Association recommends that a person gets 1500 mg per day of salt at maximum quantities. So the standard dash diet actually goes over the limit that is recommended for a healthy heart.
The dash diet is similar to the food guides of North America put out by the government. For grains, six to eight servings are recommended and fruits and vegetables should each be consumed in four to five portions a day.
This is a little bit higher than the food guides that recommend 7 to 8 for fruits and vegetables. Dairy is limited to two to three portions and lean proteins less than six a day.
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Those without high blood pressure are recommended to have around the same portions for dairy maybe slightly higher. The food guides also recommend two to three servings of protein, so on the dash diet, a person is allowed more.
If one has to follow the dash diet for high blood pressure, it is actually quite a forgiving diet plan. People shouldn’t feel too starved on this plan and instead look at it as a way to get away from unnecessary sugars and salt.