According to the World Health Organization (WHO) hypertension which is also known as high or raised blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure. Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of the body in the vessels. When the heart beats it pumps blood into the vessels and blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries).

The higher the pressure the harder the heart has to pump. That means the heart has to work harder when the pressure is higher. Any organ when it works more than it should it is like to be damaged if this condition continues over a period of time.

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet

The research was carried out supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The results of the work indicated that blood pressures were reduced in the subjects adhering to the DASH diet.

The DASH diet plan is based on lowering some foods quantities and increasing others when compared to a typical American diet.

Low in

  1. Saturated fat
  2. Cholesterol
  3. Total fat
  4. Lean red meat
  5. Sweets
  6. Added sugar
  7. Sugary beverages

Emphasizes the inclusion of

  1. Fruits
  2. Vegetables
  3. Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  4. Whole grains
  5. Nuts
  6. Fish
  7. Poultry

Because of all the foods included, the DASH diet is rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium. It is also a good source of protein and fiber. The eating plan with all the above points is called the DASH diet or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

Types of DASH diets

There are two types of DASH diets, a standard diet and another DASH diet with lower sodium levels. You can choose which one is more suitable for you after discussing with your concerned health professional.

  1. Standard DASH diet

In this diet, you can consume up to 2,300 mg of sodium a day.

  1. In the lower sodium DASH diet, you can consume up to 1,500 mg of sodium a day.

 

According to the World Health Organization reducing salt intake to less than 5 gm of salt per day is a part of a healthy diet.

Other benefits of the DASH diet

This diet though focusses on reducing sodium in the diet it can also be called basically a healthy diet. All the foods included in a normal healthy diet are part of the DASH diet. Therefore, it offers other health benefits too other than reducing hypertension.

DASH diet reduces the risk of

  1. Osteoporosis
  2. Cancer
  3. Heart disease
  4. Stroke
  5. Diabetes

It is more than 20 years ago since the DASH diet has come into existence. A number of studies have demonstrated that it reduces blood pressure in groups of people who come from diverse backgrounds. The results have been consistent with prehypertension and hypertension afflicted people.

DASH diet is affordable and can easily be followed. Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). And CVDs are the number one reason why most people die in the world. It has been shown clearly and consistently that the DASH diet reduces hypertension. The awareness about the DASH diet has to be increased so that more people can follow this diet and reduce their blood pressure.