There are “miracle” diets that make you believe that they are the solution to fight against hypertension. However, it is later shown that they do not reach any scientific basis. But today we are going to see one that, according to the experts, does work. Is the DASH diet.
The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which in Spanish would be translated as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension;) was created by the United States Institute of Health with the goal of helping reduce the effects of or prevent hypertension.
This diet is the best scientifically valued after the Mediterranean diet. The director of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the University of Navarra, Miguel Ángel Martínez-González explains that «it is a tailored suit to prevent hypertension and control high blood pressure ».
He also adds that, “if you really intervene with dietitians and with a well-done method aimed at changing dietary behavior and adapting the DASH diet, many drugs for hypertension and many of its adverse effects would be saved. Do not use drugs if there is a lifestyle and diet remedy”
The DASH diet
The objective of this diet is to reduce sodium in the diet, down to values below 2.3 g. Also, enhance the content of potassium, calcium and magnesium, minerals that better achieve hypertension.
María Ballesteros, from the Nutrition Area of the Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition, affirms that “The DASH diet emphasizes foods rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, and fiber, which when combined, help lower blood pressure.”
What steps to follow when eating?
The guidelines to be followed in the DASH diet are as follows:
- Reduce carbohydrates and cholesterol, and increase fiber, such as oatmeal. It is advisable to consume 30 grams of fiber daily.
- Eat nuts, seeds or legumes daily. Because they reduce blood cholesterolTherefore, they are great allies if we want to keep blood pressure under control.
- Choose fish, skinless poultry, and soy products as they are the best sources of protein.
- Minimize cookies and crackers. The consumption of sweets can lead to obesity and diabetes, which are two conditions that directly influence raising blood pressure.
- Avoid consuming a quantity of processed and fried foods, since, these are high in saturated fat
- Reduce sodium intake, especially salt. Excess salt intake causes a safety mechanism in the brain that prevents it from causing blood pressure to rise.
- Choosing low-fat dairy products
- Decrease egg yolks, hard cheeses, whole milk, heavy cream, ice cream, butter, and fatty meats (and large portions of meats).
- Avoid adding different dressings or sauces when cooking. Since these sauces or dressings may contain foods that cause high blood pressure
- Cook the meat on the grill, over the coals, boil and bake. The risk of hypertension is 15% higher in those who prefer well-cooked food compared to those who prefer raw meats.
- We must select fats such as those that contain olive oil. It is advisable to choose these types of fats because they are considered healthy dietary fats
- Learn how to read food labels to choose healthy foods. Stay away from fast food restaurants where healthy options can be hard to find.
Who is the DASH diet for?
María Ballestero explains that «the DASH diet is geared primarily for patients with hypertension, but since it is a fairly healthy dietary pattern, it could be used in people without pathologies or with other metabolic pathologies such as diabetes or dyslipidaemia.
There are two studies, published in Public Health Nutrition in 2017 and in The Journal of Gerontology series A in 2020, who state that there is a relationship between the implementation of the DASH diet and the reduction of the risk of depression.