DASH diet for a road to a healthy heart
What is a DASH DIET:
DASH is a flexible and balanced eating plan that helps create a heart-healthy eating style for life.
DASH diet lowers blood pressure and LDL cholesterol in the blood and shaped the NHLBI’s DASH eating plan recommendations, which includes following a DASH diet with reduced sodium intake.
The DASH eating plan requires no special foods and instead provides daily and weekly nutritional goals.
This plan recommends:
- Eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
- Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils
- Limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils
- Limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.
Based on these recommendations, the following table shows examples of daily and weekly servings that meet DASH eating plan targets for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.
Daily and Weekly DASH Eating Plan Goals for a 2,000-Calorie-a-Day Diet :
|Meats, poultry, and fish
|6 or less
|Low-fat or fat-free dairy products
|Fats and oils
|Nuts, seeds, dry beans, and peas
|5 or less
*1,500 milligrams (mg) sodium lowers blood pressure even further than 2,300 mg sodium daily.
When following the DASH eating plan, it is important to choose foods that are:
- Low in saturated and trans fats
- Rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein
- Lower in sodium
The DASH eating plan is just one key part of a heart-healthy lifestyle, and combining it with other lifestyle changes such as physical activity can help you control your blood pressure and LDL-cholesterol for life.
Other lifestyle changes to prevent and control high blood pressure :
- Be physically active.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Manage and cope with stress.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Adequate sleep. Atleast 7-8 hrs.
To help make lifestyle changes for road to a healthy heart, try making one change at a time. Add one change at a time and add another change once successful. Its one Beat at a time. Once you practice healthy lifestyle to make a habit, you are more likely to achieve road to a healthy heart and maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.