Blood pressure: Reduce reading in ‘just a couple of weeks’ by following the DASH diet

Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure

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The diet recognised to lower a hypertension reading is known as the DASH diet. “A DASH diet works to lower blood pressure by reducing how much sodium, added sugars, and saturated fats are eaten by the patient,” said Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh from Medicine Direct.

He explained what makes the diet so effective at targeting high levels. Mr Abdeh said: “[Sodium, added sugars, and saturated fats] cause weight gain and can raise cholesterol levels in the blood.

“This can cause high blood pressure, which may result in heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease. 

“By cutting out foods that are loaded with these substances, the DASH diet can substantially lower blood pressure in just a couple of weeks.”

One of the easiest ways to lower your blood pressure is by cutting down on salt, Blood Pressure UK explains.

The charity shares that this little change will start to make a difference “very quickly, even within weeks”.

The reason why the common ingredient is so risky is down to water retention. 

If you have too much salt, that puts extra water in your blood, resulting in extra pressure on your blood vessel walls, raising your blood pressure.

“The more sodium a person cuts out, the lower their blood pressure will fall,” the pharmacist said.

However, the DASH diet isn’t only about what you eliminate but also what you include.

The Mayo Clinic explains this diet packs foods that are rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium. 

And these nutrients are known for helping control blood pressure.

For example, potassium plays a part in how much fluid is stored in your body, and how much gets released.

To be able to dispose of any excess fluid, your body needs a fine balance of sodium and potassium. This in return helps to lower your blood pressure, Blood Pressure UK explains.

How long before I see the results from DASH diet?

The expert said: “Studies have shown that the DASH diet can lower blood pressure in as little as two weeks.”

What’s more, it’s “very easy” to adhere to this diet as the foods necessary for the results are simple to find.

The Mayo Clinic notes that you only need “foods found at your grocery store”.

Mr Abdeh explained what to eat: “Naturally, you should eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

“Substitute dairy products to low or non-fat, such as semi-skimmed milk rather than full-fat.

“Nuts and beans make excellent additions to meals. Unseasoned nuts are also the perfect snack, as they help to keep you feeling full between meals. Other snacks you can opt for include raw vegetables with hummus and fresh fruits.”

When following the DASH diet, it’s important to cut back on full-fat dairy, sweets and fatty meats.

Mr Abdeh added: “Instead, opt for poultry and fish, which are filled with protein. You are also encouraged to eat plenty of whole grains, such as brown rice and oats. 

“There are many foods you should avoid on a DASH diet, but some of the main offenders include pastries, pizza, canned soups, cheese, sodas and sugared drinks.”

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