Is the DASH Diet Heart Healthy?

DASH diet
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The DASH diet can help with blood pressure regulation.

People choose what they eat for various reasons.

Some people decide to eat only junk food because they enjoy the flavors.

Others choose a diet based on wanting to lose weight quickly or build muscle.

Sometimes individuals select their foods to address certain health concerns.

According to a recent Verywell article titled “Diet or Exercise: Which One Is Better for Managing Blood Pressure?” the DASH diet was designed to reduce high blood pressure.

The DASH diet can help lower high blood pressure.
Foods like fish and vegetables are important components of the DASH diet.

So, what exactly does the “DASH” in the DASH diet stand for?

It is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

Generally, those who follow this regimen do see their blood pressure numbers decrease.

This is true whether they incorporate exercise or simply change their eating habits.

How does the DASH diet work?

One primary focus is reducing sodium intake.

The least restrictive threshold is 2,300 milligrams of sodium or 1 teaspoon of table salt each day.

For those who want to reduce blood pressure more quickly or to a greater extent, it is better to limit sodium to less than 1,500 milligrams per day.

Generally, the sodium limitations are the hardest components for people.

For those who have a diet of roughly 2,000 calories per day, the breakdown of foods would look like 6-8 servings of a grain per day, four to five serving of vegetables per day, four to five servings of fruits per day, two to three servings of low-fat dairy products per day, six or fewer servings of lean meats including poultry and fish per day, four to five servings of nuts, seeds or pulses a week, and five or fewer servings of sweets per week.

How effective are the results of the DASH diet?

Studies have demonstrated those with high blood pressure can reduce their systolic numbers by as many as 11 points.

Although those who have borderline high blood pressure do not experience such dramatic results, their blood pressure numbers tend to decrease.

The DASH diet is less of a diet and more of a balanced eating plan.

It focuses on incorporating nutrient-rich foods and minimizing salt intake.

Apart from the focus on sodium reduction, it is fairly similar to the Mediterranean diet.

Although diet is an important component of cardiovascular health, improvements are higher for those who regularly exercise.

Getting your heart pumping regularly will strengthen this vital muscle and lower blood pressure as a result of more efficient pumping.

By pairing light resistance training with 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise or 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise and the DASH diet, you will be making positive choices for your blood pressure and heart health.

Have you thought about getting back to running but have been sedentary for a spell?

Remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Reference: Verywell (July 26, 2023) “Diet or Exercise: Which One Is Better for Managing Blood Pressure?”

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