Protect your Heart: DASH Diet for Heart Health

What DASH Can Do for You

DASH which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or high blood pressure can do two things that are good for your heart,and they are: can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Even if you don’t have high blood pressure, the DASH Diet is worth a look. The DASH Diet is a healthier way of eating and may help you lose weight. You won’t feel deprived. You’ll have lots of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products while cutting back on fats, sweets and cholesterol.

Cut the Salt

Too much salt is never a good thing because causes fluids to build up in your body. This puts extra pressure on your heart. On DASH, you’ll lower your sodium to either 2,300 or 1,500 milligrams a day, depending on your health, race, age and any medical conditions. We selected for you some ways to cut back:

– Choose no-sodium or low foods and condiments.

– Be careful for foods that are cured, smoked, or pickled.

– Processed foods are often high in sodium so cut down that kind of foods.

Get Your Grains

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If you want to enter fiber in your body you should eat grains like whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain cereals, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, and popcorn. Some fiber helps lower your cholesterol and also keeps you feeling full longer. For a diet of 2,000 calories per day: Eat six to eight servings a day. One serving is a slice of bread, ½ cup of cooked whole wheat or 1 ounce of dry cereal, rice, oatmeal, or pasta (about the size of half a baseball).

Load Your Plate With Vegetables

Vegetables don’t have a lot of calories or fat and can give you vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are good recipe for controlling blood pressure. Have four to five servings of vegetables a day. That’s 1/2 cup of cooked or raw vegetables, 1/2 cup of vegetable juice, or 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables for each serving. Not sure about vegetables? You should consider starting by adding a salad at lunch and dinner.

Don’t Forget Fruit

Fruits are good for your heart and offer lots of fiber and vitamins. Many also have potassium and magnesium, which lower blood pressure. Have four to five servings of fruit every day. One serving is a medium apple or orange, or 1/2 cup of fresh, canned, or frozen fruit. As a serving also counts one-half cup of fruit juice or 1/4 cup of dried fruit. Try to have fruit for dessert or to add bananas or berries to your breakfast.

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Have Some Yogurt

Low- and no-fat dairy foods can help maintain a healthy blood pressure and, are good sources of calcium and protein. Try to get three servings of dairy every day. Choose skim or 1% buttermilk, milk, and low- or no-fat cheeses and yogurt. Frozen low-fat yogurt is OK, too. One serving equals 1 1/2 ounces of cheese, or 1 cup of yogurt or milk and are about he size of three dice.

Go for Lean Meats and Fish

You are not forbidden to eat meat just make sure it’s lean. Meats are good sources of protein and magnesium. Skinless chicken and fish are also on the menu. Limit your servings to six or fewer a day. A serving is 1 ounce of cooked fish, meat, or poultry, or one egg. There is a rule that it would be good for you to follow it – to have no more than 3 ounces of meat at a meal — the size of an iPhone. Limit egg yolks to no more than four in a week.

Add Nuts and Legumes

Seeds, nuts, and legumes are rich in magnesium, protein, and fiber. Walnuts may help lower your risk of heart disease, and are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Enjoy as many as five servings of these foods each week. That’s 1/3 cup of nuts, 2 tablespoons of seeds, or a 1/2 cup of cooked dried peas or beans in each serving. Add beans to your salads or soups or grab a handful of seeds or nuts as a snack.

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Cut Back on Fats and Oils

Cut back on fats because eating too many of them can cause high cholesterol and heart disease. With DASH, you’ll limit fats and oils to two to three servings a day. A serving is 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil or margarine, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, or 2 tablespoons of low-fat salad dressing. When you’re cooking something instead of butter use vegetable oils like olive or canola.

Watch the Sweets

It’s not forbidden to eat sweets, but you should try to have five or fewer servings a week. That’s 1 tablespoon of jam or sugar, 1/2 cup of sorbet or 1 cup of lemonade, at a time. Sweets like gelatin, hard candy, or maple syrup are low in fat, so when you want to eat sweets, choose some of these. Try having fresh fruit over low-fat ice cream.

Get Enough Potassium

Potassium is another important part of the DASH diet. This mineral may help lower your blood pressure if you consume it enough. It’s best to get potassium from food instead of supplements. Aim for 4,700 milligrams (mg) a day. Try these potassium-rich foods:

– Sweet potato: 540 mg

– Potato: 926 mg

Getting Started on DASH

DASH isn’t hard to follow, but you’ll have to make some changes. You should have a food diary for a couple of days to see how your diet stacks up. Then start making changes. Then start making changes. You’ll aim for around 2,000 calories a day, but that depends on your body and how active you are. Ask your doctor for advice.

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