DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Hypertension means high blood pressure so the DASH diet is using diet changes to help control blood pressure. The diet emphasises having lots of vegetables and fruit along with low-fat dairy, whole grains, fish and poultry and some nuts and seeds and limits refined sugars, red and processed meat along with high fat and saturated fat.
It has been proven to lower blood pressure within two weeks. It brings even better results if paired with a reduced salt intake. The DASH diet recommends how many servings of each food group to have each day or each week, which varies depending on your required daily calorie intake.
High blood pressure is very common with around one in four people in the UK suffering from it. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart problems, kidney problems and strokes, so keeping it under control is of the utmost importance to prevent these conditions.
The DASH diet can have other benefits including lowering your risk of certain cancers, along with your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
You should book a routine visit with your doctor if you are thinking of commencing the DASH diet.
The doctor will initially discuss your reasons for starting the DASH diet and check it is right for you. They can answer any questions you have. They will take initial health checks such as your blood pressure, check your pulse and may offer an up to date blood test to look at things like your current cholesterol level and diabetes.
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor's practice will monitor your blood pressure at regular intervals to see if it is improving, and likely encourage you to continue with your new healthy eating regimen. If you are overweight, they will encourage weight loss. And if you’re on medication and the DASH diet brings great benefit to your blood pressure, they may consider reducing the dose or stopping these altogether.
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