Mary Grider, Nutrition Educator
As we age, the chance of developing high blood pressure increases. If you are one of the millions of people in the world with high blood pressure, your doctor may have encouraged you to try the DASH diet. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats and is low in salt. This may be why scientists believe it can help manage blood pressure. The lower-salt DASH diet recommends no more than ¾ teaspoon (1500 mg) of sodium a day. This includes salt that may be added to processed foods as well as any salt you add while cooking or eating your food.
The basics of the DASH diet are to eat more unprocessed fruits and vegetables, switch refined grains (like white rice, white bread) for whole grains (like brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread), have low fat dairy products (like milk, yogurt, or cheese) and choose leaner protein sources (like fish, poultry, or dried beans). Filling your plate with fewer processed and more natural foods will keep you healthy and can potentially manage or decrease blood pressure.
Be sure to check the labels on the foods you buy for the sodium in each serving. You can also look for lower salt options when they are available. If you find the taste of these products is too bland, consider adding other spices or a spice mix like Mrs. Dash.