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DASH Diet for People with Hypertension

The DASH diet is a dietary arrangement designed to prevent spikes in blood pressure, and even reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. If the DASH diet is carried out in a disciplined manner, blood pressure can drop in only two weeks. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is designed to overcome the problem of high blood pressure. Menus compiled in the DASH diet consist of low-salt foods, the DASH diet also emphasizes effective nutrition in lowering blood pressure.

Salt (sodium) is the main enemy of hypertension sufferers because it can have a direct effect on raising blood pressure. While potassium, calcium, and magnesium, are effective in lowering blood pressure.

DASH Diet for People with Hypertension

DASH Diet Rules

The DASH diet has simple rules, which are as follows:

  • Limit consumption of sodium, both in the form of salt and high-sodium foods, such as packaged foods (canned foods), and fast food.
  • Limit consumption of meat and foods high in sugar.
  • Reducing consumption of high cholesterol foods, and containing trans fats.
  • Increase consumption of vegetables, fruits, and processed low-fat milk.
  • Eat fish, poultry, nuts, and foods with whole grains.

Limitation on Amount of Sodium

To avoid hypertension, everyone is advised to consume the DASH Diet which generally limits sodium consumption to less than 2,300 mg. But for people with hypertension, it is recommended to only consume 1,500 mg of sodium (equivalent to 2/3 teaspoons of salt) per day.

To get used to, you can start in the following ways:

  • Do not add excessive salt to the dish.
  • Avoid packaged foods, especially canned containers. The reason, packaged foods contain higher sodium than fresh foods.
  • Limit consumption of meat to only 6 ounces per day. The presentation must also be balanced with vegetables.
  • Increase the portion of fruit when eating.
  • Replace snack packs with fresh fruits, yogurt, or nuts without salt.
  • Choose low-fat milk.

Set the DASH Diet Menu

Setting a DASH diet is actually easy because you can still eat rice, meat, and milk. The thing to note is to limit the portion per day.

A serving of the DASH diet means 1 slice of bread, 1 ounce of cereal, 3 ounces of cooked meat, 100 grams of rice or pasta, about 150 grams of vegetables and fruits, 1 teaspoon of vegetable oils such as olive oil, 3 ounces of tofu, and 8 ounces of milk.

The following is a list of foods that are needed in the DASH diet:

Vegetables: Minimum 4-5 servings per day
Broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins, fiber, and minerals, such as potassium and magnesium. Serve vegetables as a main menu, not as a side dish.

Rice and wheat: a maximum of 6-8 servings per day
Rice, bread, pasta, and cereals are included in the rice and wheat group. Choose whole grains such as brown rice and whole-wheat bread, because they contain more fiber and nutrients. Wheat has a low-fat content, as long as it is not consumed with butter, cheese or cream.

Fruits: minimum 4-5 servings per day
Serve fruits as a snack. If you do not like to eat fruit if it becomes juice without added sugar. One of the good fruits consumed by people with hypertension is bananas because it is rich in potassium.
Potassium works by reducing the effect of sodium. The more potassium that is eaten, the more sodium is lost through urine. Potassium is also able to relieve tension in the walls of blood vessels which will reduce blood pressure.

Meat, chicken, and fish: a maximum of 2 servings per day
Animal meat is a source of protein, iron, zinc, and vitamins. Meat is safe for people with hypertension provided it does not exceed 6 ounces per day. Cook skinless meat by boiling or baking, not frying. This is so meat does not become a high-cholesterol meal. Salmon and tuna are a healthier choice because it is rich in omega-3 which is beneficial in lowering cholesterol.

Nuts and seeds: 3-5 servings per day
Nuts contain omega-3s and fiber which are beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease and lowering blood pressure. But in addition, nuts also contain calories, so it is recommended to eat in moderation.

Another alternative is to consume processed soy products, such as tempeh and tofu. Tempeh and tofu contain all the amino acids the body needs, so they can be used as an alternative to meat.

Fats and oils: a maximum of 2-3 servings per day
In the DASH diet, it is recommended to consume unsaturated fats, aka good fats. Unsaturated fats can reduce cholesterol levels in the blood and reduce the risk of heart disease, as long as it is consumed in appropriate quantities. Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts. While polyunsaturated fats are found in salmon, tuna, and processed soybeans. Avoid eating saturated fat and trans fat because it can increase the risk of coronary heart disease.

Low-fat dairy products: a maximum of 2-3 servings per day
Milk and its processed products such as cheese and yogurt are good sources of vitamin D, calcium, and protein. Choose products that are low in fat to avoid excessive fat consumption.

Sweet foods: a maximum of 5 servings per week
In the DASH diet, you do not need to eliminate the habit of eating sweet snacks. But it is recommended to choose sweet foods like jelly, jelly, or low-fat biscuits.

When you just start the DASH diet program, you might find that your food tastes less delicious because of less salt. Moreover, most Indonesian dishes have a strong taste. To overcome this, you do not need to immediately eliminate the entire dose of salt. Reduce little by little until your tongue gets used.

The essence of the DASH diet is to reduce sodium intake. Whether it's sodium in food, processed products, or salt added to cooking. That is why, the types of foods selected in this program are foods with low sodium levels. When shopping for kitchen needs, don't forget to read the label before choosing the product.

If you have trouble arranging a suitable diet plan, you can consult a nutrition doctor, to get nutrition and dietary consultation.

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