By Tanise Edwards, M.D., and Melanie Polk, M.M.Sc., R.D.N., F.A.D.A.
Are you trying to live healthier — and control your blood pressure? Here's a four-pronged approach that's likely to help: your fork.
Choosing a heart-healthy diet is a simple and effective way to help lower — and maybe even prevent — high blood pressure, also called hypertension. One of the best examples of this is an eating plan called DASH. That stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
The DASH diet is rich in nutrients and low in sodium. According to the National Institutes of Health, it's been proven to lower high blood pressure. And that can take a big bite out of your risk for both heart attack and stroke — and other health conditions too.
Ready to dig in?
The DASH plan is not just healthy — it's tasty and satisfying too. In fact, it can be a good change for the entire family. With DASH, you:
Of course, portion control and getting regular exercise matter too. In fact, how much you eat depends on your age and how active you are. But DASH isn't complicated. You can learn more about what it means for you here — and start making changes gradually. See "One small step at a time."
A DASH day
Here's a sample of a DASH meal plan for one day. It's for an adult on a 2,000-calorie, low-sodium diet. Your needs may be different. So talk with your doctor to find out what's right for you.
For even more on DASH, including a one-week meal plan, check out this booklet from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Keep in mind …
DASH offers a healthy way to better control your blood pressure. But it doesn't take the place of medicines your doctor may prescribe.
If you have questions about your treatment plan, talk with your doctor. And if you think the DASH eating plan may help, ask for advice about getting started.
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