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A Dash Diet Plan For Hypertension

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According to The World Health Organisation (WHO), as of August 2021, 1.28 billion adults have hypertension globally. To put that into perspective, that is roughly 1 in 5 adults. Furthermore, the age group that is affected most is 30-79 and, if left untreated, can lead to heart complications and stroke. WHO further claims that people from the middle-class and lower-income groups are usually affected by hypertension. 

A lot of studies (1)(2)(3) establish the relationship between food and diet with blood pressure. For example, salty or extra-sweet foods can increase blood pressure. 

The ideal measure of blood pressure is 120/80. When it surpasses the ideal value, one calls it hypertension. This article talks about hypertension and the dash diet for hypertension. 

It will provide a seven-day diet plan and address all the frequently asked questions.

What is Hypertension?

Blood pressure is the pressure, or the flow of blood exerts on the walls of blood vessels, specifically the arteries. The condition where the pressure is too high is called hypertension. Blood pressure is represented in two figures, systolic (the heartbeat) and diastolic pressure (the time of rest between heartbeats).

One must measure the blood pressure on two different days to diagnose hypertension. For example, if the systolic pressure exceeds 120 on both days and the diastolic pressure exceeds 90 on both days, the blood pressure is high, and the condition is hypertension.

Causes of Hypertension

Unhealthy diets, inactive lifestyles, being overweight or obese, and consumption of tobacco and alcohol can be leading causes of hypertension. 

Other risk factors include pre-existing conditions like diabetes, being over the age of 65 and a family history of hypertension.

Common Symptoms of Hypertension

It is essential to measure blood pressure regularly as there are no apparent symptoms or warning signs, because of which it is also known as a “silent killer.”

Some symptoms that may occur are morning headaches, nosebleeds, buzzing in the ears, changes in vision and nausea. In addition, some symptoms in cases of severe hypertension include fatigue, muscle tremors, vomiting, chest pain, confusion and anxiety. 

Complications From Hypertension

Untreated hypertension can cause the hardening of the arteries, decreasing blood flow and oxygen. It leads to underlying conditions like:

  • Angina or chest pain
  • Heart attack is caused by dying of the muscles around the heart due to lack of oxygen. 
  • In heart failure, the heart cannot pump oxygen well to other body organs.
  • An irregular heartbeat that might lead to sudden death
  • Hypertension can also lead to the bursting of the blood vessels in the brain and cause a stroke.
  • Hypertension can also potentially lead to kidney failure.

DASH Diet for Hypertension

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH is a diet plan that reduces hypertension. The DASH diet is ideal for weight loss measures too. The diet requires consuming more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. In addition, it advises eating more fish and poultry and cutting back on food that has high saturated and trans fat.

The diet also requires one to have low sodium and red meat intake.

Planning and Starting the Diet

The dash diet requires a specific number of calorie intake from various food groups daily. Therefore, what specific intake you might need has to be customised.

HealthifyMe allows you to customise your meal plan with a nutritionist in a way that best suits your needs and helps you achieve your health goals quicker and with much more efficiency.

HealthifyPRO 2.0 is a complete solution that can improve your metabolic health substantially. The offering contains various pillars. First, the extensive metabolic panel testing based on 65 plus parameters helps the coaches understand the extent of food and lifestyle changes required to normalise your health parameters. The condition is associated with obesity, diabetes or prediabetes. 

The CGM helps you track fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Due to stress or sitting in the same position for a long time, you may experience a spike in glucose levels. It also happens when you eat anything. The idea is to stabilise your glucose levels, eat the right foods that control blood glucose spikes and stay active, sleep well, drink enough water and make it a lifestyle change. When you are metabolically healthy, your dependence on medicines reduces, and you live a healthier life. How you eat and live has far-reaching consequences on your health, and HealthifyPRO 2.0 can help identify your metabolic distress’s root causes. 

DASH Diet Meal Plan for Hypertension

Monday

  • Breakfast: Smoothie with berries and low-fat Greek yoghurt.
  • Lunch: Tuna, edamame, and seaweed salad quinoa poke bowl
  • Dinner: Whole grain black bean tacos with salsa

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Fruit smoothie with Greek yoghurt
  • Lunch: A salad with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and grilled chicken with a dressing made of low-fat yoghurt.
  • Dinner: Stir-fried cubed chicken, broccoli, bell pepper, and snow peas over brown rice

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Oats porridge with berries and nuts
  • Lunch: A salad with low-fat feta cheese, chickpeas, strawberries, and spinach.
  • Dinner: Swordfish with lemon and quinoa

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Low-fat spinach mango smoothie
  • Lunch: Wholegrain wrap with tuna salad and low-fat yoghurt.
  • Dinner: White bean, veggie, and whole wheat pasta soup

Friday

  • Breakfast: Chia pudding made with fruit and unsweetened almond milk.
  • Lunch: Salmon and broccoli quinoa bowl.
  • Dinner: Turkey burgers on a whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomato, and onion

Saturday

  • Breakfast: Tofu scramble, salsa, and whole-wheat bread.
  • Lunch: Chicken salad tacos
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken and whole wheat pasta with salad

Sunday

  • Breakfast: Porridge made with whole grains, pears, and cinnamon
  • Lunch: A whole grain wrap with cucumbers, tomatoes, and hummus
  • Dinner: Whole grain bread with a lentil curry with celery, carrots, and onions.

Tips for the Diet

  • Add a serving of vegetables to your lunch and dinner
  • Use a serving of fruit as a snack in your meal
  • Either avoid consuming butter or use only half of your serving for butter.

How Much is a Serving?

In the DASH diet, the following are known as one serving:

  • Half a cup of rice or pasta
  • One slice of bread
  • 3 ounces of cooked meat
  • 8 ounces of milk
  • 1 cup of raw fruits and vegetables

The HealthifyMe Note

When switching to a DASH diet, speaking to a nutritionist and getting a meal plan best suited for your diet structure should always be of priority. A low-sodium diet rich in fruits and vegetables is essential. It is always important to balance the diet with little quantity of fats but under strict regulation. You must avoid sugary drinks and packaged salty foods. You can always get a customised meal plan tailored to your needs using HealthifyMe and can always track your food calories using the free HealthifyMe app.

Conclusion

Hypertension is relatively common among adults. There are ways in which you can regulate it. Consuming certain foods can help bring blood pressure down to the standard value.

A diet consisting of fruits and vegetables and lean meats is the most suitable. It is essential to keep in mind that your first step needs to be to reduce sodium intake and salt intake to control your hypertension.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What foods increase hypertension?

A: Hypertension is when blood flow exerts pressure on the walls of arteries that is more than the standard value. You must avoid salty foods, red meat, sugary drinks, alcohol, saturated fats like desserts, chocolate, biscuits and kebabs, condiments like ketchup and soy sauce and caffeine in tea and coffee.

Q. Are eggs good for hypertension?

A: The consumption of eggs has no significant effect on the blood pressure of adults. Eggs are healthy for the heart as they are rich in vitamins and unsaturated fats. The vitamins found in eggs are namely, B6, B12 and D.

Q. What foods should a hypertensive person avoid?

A: Foods that hypertensive people should avoid are salty foods, red and processed meat, all foods with high sugar content, fried foods, packaged foods, alcohol and caffeine.

Q. Is Apple good for hypertension?

A: Apples are good for hypertension. They keep and help maintain blood pressure at healthy levels. The potassium content in apples helps in lowering blood pressure. In addition, the fibre in apples helps with weight loss and also helps in regulating blood pressure.

Q. Is rice OK for hypertension?

A: The type of rice consumed is the deciding factor as to whether rice is suitable for consumption. Brown rice with a high fibre content is beneficial for controlling blood pressure, but white rice is unhealthy, and you must avoid it. Rice, like brown rice, is rich in vitamins, fibre and carbohydrates that work in synergy to maintain and control blood pressure and aid weight loss.

Q. Is bread good for hypertension patients?

A: You can have whole wheat and whole grain bread, but you must avoid white bread. The recommended serving of bread is either one slice or three ounces. The rye in whole grain bread helps in lowering blood pressure.

Q. What is the best breakfast for hypertension?

A: For patients with hypertension, breakfasts can contain yoghurt, oatmeal, berries, eggs, unsalted nuts, fruit smoothies, and wholegrain bread.

Q. Is milk good for hypertension?

A: Milk is rich in potassium. A high intake of potassium gets linked with lower blood pressure. Therefore, milk is good for hypertension as long as it is not whole milk rich in fats; skimmed milk and low-fat milk are always ideal.

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