The DASH Diet is proven to lower blood pressure due to the generous amounts of healthy nutrients this food lover’s diet provides.
The benefits of the DASH Diet go beyond one aspect of good health. Healthy blood pressure is a critical aspect of health. By lowering blood pressure, the DASH Diet helps lower risk of heart disease.
February is Heart Month; you may have noticed all the heart health news features on recognizing warning signs, early detection, regular activity, and healthy eating.
The DASH Diet was endorsed for heart health more than 20 years ago because it is an effective way to lower blood pressure in most groups in the US population within as little as two weeks.
The DASH Diet’s level of risk reduction for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes is striking:
- 13% decrease in the 10-year Framingham risk score for cardiovascular disease
- 15% potential reduction in coronary artery disease
- 27% potential reduction in incidence of stroke with a population wide following of DASH to lower blood pressure
- Reduced stroke risk for both ischemic and hemorrhagic stoke
- 18% risk reduction for type 2 diabetes, a condition that also increases risk of heart disease
Why does DASH deliver so many benefits through great tasting foods?
The DASH relies on foods naturally rich in minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber, with plant and animal proteins and healthy fats.
For many people, the change in food choices produces other healthy changes:
- Lower total blood cholesterol,
- Lower LDL cholesterol,
- Lower serum homocysteine (a breakdown product of some proteins that can raise heart disease risk)
Here are 5 tips to get started with the DASH Diet:
- Keep fruit handy and ready to eat. A bowl of fresh fruit is a visual cue for a healthy snack (in place of a salty, bagged item.)
- Start the day with oats made with milk. Overnight oats – mixing rolled oats with milk and refrigerate overnight – is a quick and easy breakfast. Add banana slices or raisins for sweetness.
- Serve a platter of raw veggies as the first course to dinner. Carrots, celery, peppers, broccoli, and your other favorites paired with hummus dip.
- Make an easy skillet “steam” fry. Combine a large bag of frozen vegetables and cooked poultry or meat in a large skillet (great way to use leftovers). Add a cup of dry quick cooking brown rice and a cup of water. Cover and cook over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed, the rice is cooked, and vegetables are soften. Sprinkle with your favorite low salt herb mix.
- Chill with dessert. Keep small containers of your favorite yogurt in the freezer to enjoy as a “guilt-free” treat.
The DASH Diet is a delicious way to improve your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. Besides the five tips of above, check out my DASH Recipes for more ideas.