Lower Your Blood Pressure with Higher Dairy Product Intake: Follow the DASH Diet with Easy Yogurt-based Recipes.
You can enjoy foods you love AND reduce your blood pressure and possibly put off the need for medications**.
Mary Poppins suggested a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. A few generous spoonfuls of yogurt along with other dairy foods daily may help you keep the need for medicine down.
The DASH diet, also known as the DASH eating style, lowers blood pressure – research shows in just two weeks. For people with slightly elevated blood pressure, following the DASH diet may prevent the need for blood pressure medication**.
DASH is a great way to eat for healthy blood pressure. One key food group in the DASH eating style is low fat dairy products. Check out other DASH Foods, vegetables and fruits, in my Avocado Beet Citrus Salad Recipe.
The DASH Diet recommends 2-3 servings of low fat dairy products per day. This can be as simple as
• a glass of milk,
• a cup of yogurt, and
• a string cheese.
Milk products are nutrition powerhouses. Milk and yogurt provide the key DASH minerals
Milk and yogurt can provide 20 to 30% of your daily need for calcium per serving yet save on sodium, with about 5% of the daily limit per serving. Too much sodium especially when calcium and potassium intake are sub optimal can increase risk of high blood pressure.
Foods naturally lower in sodium, such as milk or yogurt, help you balance sodium from other foods that require salt to make, such as cheese. Vary your daily milk product choices to include milk and yogurt for maximum DASH minerals.
Cheese provides calcium so include an ounce a day if desired. The cheese making process retains the calcium of milk, with less potassium and more sodium.
To DASH your day, it as easy as including at least 2 servings of milk or yogurt (1 cup each) with a bit of natural cheese (1 ounce). You will enjoy foods with about 90% of your recommended calcium intake for only 20% of the daily sodium limit.
Greek-style yogurt is one of my favorite go-tos for getting plenty of milk products in my diet. In addition to providing DASH minerals, yogurt provides protein, B-vitamins and active culture probiotics for a healthy digestive system. Many varieties provide lower sugar options compared to levels found in traditional flavored yogurts.
Check out these easy recipe ideas that feature Greek-style yogurt to add a flavor and nutrition burst to your meals and snacks. All of the ingredients are DASH foods – fruits and vegetables and whole grains – an added lower blood pressure bonus!
1. Mix dried cranberries into plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. Spread a generous smear on a whole wheat bagel. Spice it up with a sprinkle or two of ground cinnamon or ginger to taste.
2. Add no-salt herb seasoning mix – stir your favorite, such as a Southwest chili lime, into plain, non-fat yogurt for a zesty dip for raw veggies. Want more heat? Add a few drops of hot pepper sauce to taste.
3. Make a blender-less smoothie! In a 16-fluid ounce cup, add ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce, ½ cup of orange juice and a container of non-fat, plain Greek or vanilla yogurt. Stir until smooth and enjoy this simple sipper. Perfect for camping!
4. Stir your favorite thick salsa into non-fat Greek yogurt. Top a baked potato with a couple of generous dollops and add fresh green onion slices. Yum! Wonderful on baked sweet potatoes, too!
5. Create a peanut butter and banana treat – stir your favorite nut butter into plain, non-fat Greek yogurt to taste (2 tablespoons to a single-serve container is a good start, then add more to taste). Stir in diced banana pieces for sweetness. Want a frozen treat? Spread on graham crackers, about ½ inch thick, and top with a second graham cracker. Place in a plastic container with tight fitting lid. Freeze overnight. Enjoy!
Milk products are a foundation food group in the DASH Diet, providing calcium, potassium and magnesium, with limited sodium. Greek yogurt in simple recipes adds options for meals and snacks to meet the DASH Eating Style.
PRO COOKING TIP #1: For the yogurt spread or dip, refrigerate in a covered container overnight to develop flavors. The mix-ins may also absorb some liquid for a thicker spread or dip. Drain excess liquid from yogurt if present when opened. Use chilled applesauce and juice in the smoothie – cold without any ice needed.
PRO COOKING TIP #2: Substitute your favorite thick style yogurt, skyr or Icelandic varieties in the recipes. For a slightly sweeter option to plain yogurt, mix equal parts of plain and vanilla yogurts for the non-savory recipes.
**ALWAYS consult your health care provider regarding any medications you take – do not stop taking a prescription medication without your physician’s guidance.