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Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH Diet)

HK BioTek Nutritionist, Intern

What is DASH Diet? DASH Diet is Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension - it is a clinically approved method to control or prevent hypertension proposed by the USA National Institutes of Health (NIH). The old-school thought is that sodium is the only evil and should be restricted in our diet, yet the DASH diet is the new idea of maintaining a healthy heart and is easier to comply with, instead of admiring or limiting a single food. The principle of DASH diet emphasizes on high potassium, magnesium, calcium, fiber, unsaturated fats as well as low saturated fat. It is a combination of various nutrients that can achieve the goal of lowering blood pressure, at the same time retaining a little bit of “taste” to the diet. It is suitable for people who do not have any kidney functioning problem and would like to reduce and control their blood pressure, and without any problem of kidney functioning.


Principle of DASH diet

Mechanism

Potassium

Reduces tension in the blood vessel wall

→ lower blood pressure

Magnesium

Relaxes blood vessel, lower insulin resistance

→ Regulates blood pressure

Calcium

Regulates blood pressure

Fiber

Lower insulin resistance

Unsaturated fats

“Healthy fat” to reduce blood cholesterol

→ antagonizing the effects of saturated fat

Low saturated fat

Overconsumption of saturated fat increases the blood cholesterol and also the risk of heart disease

Dietary suggestions:


5 portions of fruits

  • Rich in potassium - banana, melon etc


5 portions of vegetables

  • Dark green vegetables

  • Rich in potassium - spinach, mushrooms etc


Proteins

  • Replacing red meat by white meat

  • Plant-based proteins - legumes, soy products


3-7 portions of dairy products

  • Low-fat dairy products - low fat milk, yogurt and cheese


Whole grain products

  • Unrefined - brown rice, five-grain rice, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes, taro etc., at least account for more than two-third of the daily intake


1 portion of nuts & seeds

  • Peanuts, pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, cashews, etc


Oil

  • Plant-based oil - canola oil, sunflower oil, olive oil etc


References

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