Sprint to Health
How does the DASH diet lower blood pressure?
Don’t let high blood pressure worries hinder your life. Learn about the DASH diet, and how it can improve your blood pressure, and your nutritional intake!
For people who suffer from high blood pressure, or hypertension, life can become cluttered with medical appointments, prescription medications, and other therapies. Even with all of this, their blood pressure may still be too high.
Rather than adding another medication to your repertoire or resigning yourself to a life of under-effective treatment, consider a simple long-term option that will lower your blood pressure by as much as 12 points in two weeks and keep it within the healthy range. What is this seemingly magical therapy? The DASH diet.
Baked Swordfish with Tropical Fruit Salsa
SERVES 6 | SERVING SIZE: 1 FILLET WITH ¼ CUP SALSA 6 boneless swordfish steaks, 6 ounces
each Olive oil, as needed Salt and pepper 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced 1 cup mango, chopped 1 small ripe tomato, cored and diced ¼ cup English cucumber, diced 2 tablespoons red onion, minced 2 tablespoons red bell pepper, minced 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped 1 tablespoon lime juice Lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the swordfish steaks with olive oil and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Combine the pineapple, mango, tomato, cucumber, onion, red pepper, cilantro, and lime juice in a medium mixing bowl. Toss the salsa ingredients to combine, and chill until ready to use. Place the steaks on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until just cooked through. Serve the swordfish hot, topped with the salsa and a lemon wedge.
The DASH Diet is an acronym for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension,” and it is more than just a fad diet designed to help you lose weight or detoxify your body— it is a long-term lifestyle change designed to boost your health, lower your blood pressure, and improve your quality of life. Created by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the DASH diet has been proven to lower blood pressure, reduce low-density lipoprotein (“bad” cholesterol) levels, and reduce the risk for chronic disease completely independent of any prescription medication. Simply put, the DASH diet is the perfect solution for individuals who want to get their blood pressure under control without using drugs.
By following the DASH diet for as little as two weeks, you can significantly lower your blood pressure— many people who have switched to the diet experienced a reduction in blood pressure by as much as 7 to 12 points in just two weeks. The DASH diet is not complicated or restrictive, and doesn’t require you to count calories or become obsessive about exercising. The driving principle behind the success of the DASH diet is incredibly simple—quality nutrition. By removing processed carbs and refined sugars from your diet, you can boost your daily nutrition. Choosing whole grains, fresh produce, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy as well as nuts, seeds, and healthy oils can improve your health and overall bodily function to the point where high blood pressure is no longer a problem.
There are certain serving recommendations you should follow when on the DASH diet. In addition to avoiding processed and refined ingredients, you should also keep an eye on your sodium intake. The NHLBI recommends a daily sodium intake of around 2,300 mg, or about 1 teaspoon of table salt. For individuals with hypertension and those at risk for hypertension, the daily intake should be lower, around 1,500 mg. Cutting processed foods from your diet alone will help reduce your sodium intake, but you should still be careful when seasoning your food. One of the top sources of sodium in the modern diet is commercially produced bread. One slice may have 100 to 200 mg. Artisan breads without nutrition labels can be some of the worst offenders. Controlling your sodium intake will help lower blood pressure and improve heart health, lowering your risk for heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Whether you are looking for a natural way to lower your blood pressure or you simply want to improve your eating habits and daily nutrition, the DASH diet is a great tool to use. While you may be able to lower your blood pressure in just two weeks by following the diet, the DASH Diet is intended to be a long-term solution for improved nutrition and blood pressure control. If you want to get started on the right foot with this diet, consider engaging in a 14-day DASH diet detox to rid your body of excess toxins and to jump-start your dash to good health.
Kate Barrington is the author of DASH Diet Detox: 14-Day QuickStart Plan to Lower Blood Pressure and Lose Weight the Healthy Way. She graduated from Marietta College in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in English and a focus on creative writing.