The DASH diet: controlling blood pressure through diet

WHAT IS THE DASH DIET FOR?

The DASH diet comes from the United States. DASH is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension , which means ” Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension “. Indeed, scientific studies have shown that the adoption of this diet can contribute to lowering blood pressure significantly.

The Canadian Hypertension Education Program recommends this diet for people with high blood pressure. People who have normal blood pressure but who are at risk for hypertension should also adopt the DASH diet. Predisposing factors for high blood pressure include family history, overweight and lack of physical activity. The DASH diet can also be adopted by people who simply want a healthier diet.

WHAT IS THE DASH DIET?

This diet aims to limit the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet. It relies on high consumption of fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy products, whole grain products, fish and poultry.

The number of servings recommended varies according to each person’s dietary needs. The table below shows the portions for a daily intake of about 2000 calories. You may need to adjust the amount of portions to suit your individual needs.

Food group

Number of servings per day

Whole Grain Products

7 to 8

Fruits

4 to 5

Vegetables

4 to 5

Low fat dairy products

2 to 3

Meat, poultry and fish

2 or less

Fat

2 to 3

Legumes, nuts and seeds

4 to 5 a week

Snacks and sweets

5 a week

PORTION CALCULATION

A serving of grain products is a slice of bread or half a cup (125 mL) of cooked cereal, rice or pasta.

For fruits and vegetables, one serving is equivalent to one medium fruit, half a cup (125 mL) of fresh or frozen fruit or vegetables, or three-quarters of a cup (180 mL) of juice.

One cup (250 ml) of milk, three quarters of a cup (180 ml) of yogurt or 50 grams (an ounce and a half) of cheese make up a portion of dairy products.

One serving of meat, poultry or fish equals 90 grams (three ounces) of these products.

One serving of fat is a teaspoon (5 mL) of margarine, regular oil or mayonnaise, or a tablespoon (15 mL) of low-fat mayonnaise or salad dressing.

One-third of a cup (80 ml) of nuts or half a cup (125 ml) of legumes is a portion of this category.

A serving of sweets equals one-half cup (125 ml) of frozen sorbet or yogurt, or one tablespoon (15 ml) of maple syrup or jam.

CHOICE OF FOODS

For grain products, it is important to promote whole grain foods, which are an important source of fiber. For example, choose brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice.

For dairy products, it is better to choose skimmed products, which contain less fat. For example, choose skim milk or 1% instead of 2% milk or 3.25% milk. This food group will allow you to obtain an interesting contribution in calcium and protein.

Promote lean meats, poultry, fish and seafood over fatty meats. Remove the visible fat from the meat before cooking.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

Healthy eating is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. On the other hand, regular physical activity, moderate alcohol consumption, reaching a healthy weight, and reduced salt intake are other aspects to consider. Do not forget that comprehensive management of your lifestyle is the best way to improve your health!

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