You may know that High Blood Pressure can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. But did you know that it can also cause other problems like kidney disease and blindness? Hypertension is common, nearly 1 in 3 American Adults have high blood pressure, and it is even more common in the African American population. If you are middle-aged, overweight, have a family history of hypertension or have pre-hypertension (see the chart below), then you are at risk for developing hypertension.
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or “Dash Diet” has proven to decrease blood pressure in studies.1 The lifestyle diet emphasizes plants: fruits, veggies, and low-fat dairy. These are the main potassium-rich foods that can help to control or reduce your blood pressure. These 4 steps will help you to easily start to incorporate the DASH DIET principles into your lifestyle!
- Seven to nine servings of fruits and vegetables are what you are aiming each day. 1 serving is a cup of raw or ½ cup of cooked plants.
- Get 3 servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy products every day.
- For the best BP lowering effect, limit sodium to 1500 mg/day! If that seems to strict, start with 2,300 mg and work your way down. The lower the salt, typically the lower the BP.
- Daily cardiovascular exercise. Moving helps everything, and walking is adequate to help lower or prevent hypertension- shoot for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. (You will probably need more to stimulate weight loss).