Dash diet

DASH Diet: Hypertension Eating Plan

Hypertension or high blood pressure has been on the rise in the US for the past 50 years. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. First introduced in 1997, it is a diet promoted by the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for reducing blood pressure. Various organizations have ranked it as one of the “Best Overall Diets.” The DASH diet is a well-balanced, lifelong approach to healthy eating that was discovered in research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to determine the role of dietary eating patterns on blood pressure.

Hypertension
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MANAGEMENT OF HYPERTENSION :

Initial management of hypertension uses a two-pronged approach, with emphasis on Pharmacotherapy and Non-pharmacotherapy. Non – pharmacological therapy (Lifestyle modifications) has an important role in both non-hypertensive & hypertensive individuals. Lifestyle modifications have the potential to prevent hypertension as well as to reduce BP and lower the risk of BP-related complications.

The following non-pharmacotherapeutic interventions:

NUTRITION :

The following Dietary changes are of paramount importance: Reduction of salt intake to an average of not more than 5 g per day (WHO, 2012), moderate fat intake, following the DASH diet plan (Dietary approaches to stop hypertension), the avoidance of a high alcohol intake, and restriction of energy intake appropriate to body needs.

What is the DASH Diet?

The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was developed through research funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. It is effective in lowering blood pressure and blood lipid levels, which ultimately reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease.

This diet plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and seeds, nuts, and legumes. It also recommends limiting sugary beverages, sweets, sodium, and red meats. The DASH diet is rich in magnesium, potassium, and calcium, which are protective against high blood pressure. DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat dairy foods, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. It also contains less salt and sodium, sweets, added sugars, and sugar-containing beverages, fats, and red meats. This diet helps to lower blood pressure and also has suitable effects on blood lipids.

Dash Diet
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Origin of DASH Diet

The DASH diet originated out of clinical studies by the National Institute of Health. These studies were designed to test which diets are best suited to reducing hypertension. The National Institute of Health examined three different diets in the clinical studies and then examined their results. The DASH diet is not necessarily a “diet” rather it is a way of eating that will promote long-term health. The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) recommends the DASH diet as “an ideal eating plan for all Americans.”

Dash Diet
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The characteristics of the DASH diet:

Lower sodium intake

The DASH diet provides guidelines for your sodium and caloric intake. The standard DASH diet allows up to a maximum of 2300 mg of sodium per day and the low-sodium version of the DASH diet allows up to 1500 mg of sodium per day. The average American diet contains up to 3500 mg of sodium per day.

Increased vitamins and minerals

All your essential vitamins and minerals are provided on the DASH diet by the many fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other whole foods that you are encouraged to eat on the diet. The diet also includes an ample supply of minerals like magnesium and potassium that help to lower or improve your blood pressure.

Increased good fats

Consuming a lot of good fats and minimizing bad fats is highly encouraged on the DASH diet. Saturated and Trans fats should be replaced with lean meats, omega-3’s from fish and seafood, low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds. Good fats help to optimize our overall health by lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.

Increased fiber consumption

The DASH diet recommends increasing your fiber consumption by eating several servings of fruits, vegetables, and grains every day. This keeps you feeling full and helps to reduce blood pressure. High fiber consumption also helps to maintain good blood sugar levels and it also encourages weight loss.

Reduction of alcohol and caffeine

The DASH diet suggests limiting your intake of alcohol, soda, tea, and coffee because they offer no nutritional value, typically contain a lot of sugar and they can elevate blood pressure. This is an important lifestyle modification for reducing blood pressure. Alcohol raises blood pressure and also can harm vital organs like the liver, brain, and heart. For persons who consume alcohol, the recommendations are, that men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day and women no more than one drink per day as supported by the AHA 2006 scientific statement of hypertension management.

Customized sodium and caloric intake

In the same way that you can choose a 2300 mg/day or 1500 mg/day sodium intake DASH diet, you can also choose the most suitable caloric intake level for you

Dash diet

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Benefits of the DASH Diet

The DASH eating plan is effective for the prevention and management of hypertension. Hypertension is a clinical term for high blood pressure. Approximately 1 in 3 American adults have hypertension. This “silent killer,” which often lacks overt symptoms, can increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and blindness.

Hypertension, a chronic disease, is treated with prescription medications. However, diet and lifestyle changes can significantly reduce blood pressure. Research shows that in some individuals, the DASH eating plan may reduce blood pressure as much or more than prescribed drugs. The DASH eating plan, in combination with a sodium-restricted diet (1500mg/day), can produce even greater results in lowering blood pressure.

The DASH diet is supportive of digestive health and decreases the risk of the development of colorectal cancer. This may be due to an increased level of fiber or higher consumption of dairy.

The DASH eating pattern support kidney health. Studies have shown that a DASH diet decreases the risk for urinary albumin excretion and protects against rapid decreases in glomerular filtration, both of which are indicators of decreasing kidney function. It is also protective against the development of kidney stones.

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Researches on DASH DIET

Over the years several studies have proven that the DASH diet is not only effective for lowering blood pressure through diet but it is also effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, several types of cancers, stroke, heart disease, kidney stones, kidney disease, diabetes, heart failure, and many other diseases. The DASH diet has also been shown to promote weight loss and improve overall health.

Research has found that diet affects the development of high blood pressure, or hypertension (the medical term). Recently, two studies showed that following a particular eating plan—called the DASH diet—and reducing the amount of sodium consumed lowers blood pressure. While each step alone lowers blood pressure, the combination of the eating plan and a reduced sodium intake gives the biggest benefit and may help to prevent the development of high blood pressure.

The DASH diet research findings, which tells about high blood pressure, and how to follow the DASH diet and reduce the number of sodium consumptions. The menus and recipes are  for two levels of daily sodium consumption —2,400 milligrams (the upper limit of current recommendations by the Federal Government’s National High Blood. Pressure Education Program, or NHBPEP, and the amount used to figure food labels’ Nutrition Facts Daily Value) and 1,500 milligrams.

NUTRITIONAL RECOMMENDATION FOR DASH DIET

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is an eating plan that originally lowers blood pressure but also is “heart-healthy” and lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. This eating plan is for 1,800 calories per day. The DASH plan is high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and protein that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. The plan also focuses on lowering salt intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day. Even lower salt intake (1,500 mg per day) can lower blood pressure even more. Eating nutritious foods will help to control blood pressure. The DASH diet emphasizes fruits and vegetables, low-fat milk products, and whole grains. It is a Mediterranean diet full of nutrients that are good for your heart and good for your health.

DASH Diet means eating a variety of foods and food groups that research has shown can be beneficial to heart health while avoiding others, that are harmful.

Key components include the following:

  1. Fruits and vegetables
  2. Whole grains
  3. Nuts, seeds, and legumes
  4. Lean protein—fish and poultry are emphasized, while red and processed meat consumption is limited
  5. Low-fat or fat-free dairy
  6. Avoidance of sugar-sweetened beverages
  7. Low sodium—when kept under 2,300 mg daily the diet is even more helpful with blood pressure, which can drop even lower with less than 1,500 mg daily sodium intake
  8. Higher levels of dietary nutrients like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber
  9. Lower levels of saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol
  10. Increased the fiber intake slowly, so that people can avoid becoming gassy or bloated.
  11. Keep food allergies and intolerances (e.g., lactose intolerance) in mind as you tailor this diet to individual needs.
  12. For example, most DASH diet guides don’t cover avocados. Some foods are may not be the best choice for their category. For example, pretzels are grains but don’t have a lot of fiber or nutrients.

DOES THE DASH DIET WORK?

The DASH diet has shown several benefits. It lowers blood pressure (systolic and diastolic) for people with hypertension, and also for people who have blood pressures in the normal range, whether or not they lower their sodium intake. Reductions in pressures occur within one week and keep dropping if sodium restriction is ongoing.

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The DASH diet reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death on the order of approximately a 13% decrease in 10-year Framingham CVD risk. It is helpful with weight loss, it lowers hsCRP levels relative to usual diets (comparably to other healthy diets), and it also offers therapeutic benefit for a wide range of other clinical conditions, including the following:

  • Abnormal lipids
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Heart failure
  • Colon and rectal cancer chemoprevention
  • Insulin resistance and diabetes
  • Urolithiasis (kidney stones)
  • Gout
  • Kidney disease

OTHER LIFESTYLE CHANGES 

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WEIGHT REDUCTION:

The prevention and correction of overweight/obesity is a prudent way of reducing the risk of hypertension and indirectly coronary heart disease. The greater the weight loss, the greater the reduction in blood pressure. Meal patterns that rely heavily on processed foods containing more fats, sugar, and sodium, lead to steady weight gain and high BP.

QUIT SMOKING :

Smoking is a major risk factor leading to HTN and heart disease. Nicotine and Carbon monoxide present in smoke damages heart & blood vessels. Smoking also increases blood viscosity, clot formation and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries. In patients with coronary heart disease, smoking cessation is associated with a 36% reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY :

The role of physical activity in the treatment of hypertension is well known. Regular physical activity enhances the sense of well-being, improves functional health status, & reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.

EXERCISE:

Researches showed that exercise incorporated lifestyle intervention can result in significantly better BP control among patients taking Pharmacotherapy for Hypertension. 30-45 minutes of moderate level activity on most days of the week can lose/maintain weight & helps to lower Blood pressure.

YOGA/ MEDITATION :

Yoga is a beneficial multifunctional therapeutic modality in the treatment of a variety of psychological and medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and COPD. Meditation helps to calm the body and soul and relaxation techniques such as massaging relieve stress. It might be that a reduction in stress and stimulation of the body might impart physiological benefits, says the American Heart Association.

CONCLUSION :

In conclusion, Hypertension is a major risk factor and a powerful predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The main thrust of primary prevention of hypertension includes a sustained effort on lifestyle modifications. Established nutrition recommendations are proven to help reduce blood pressure in general populations. Thus, decrease the load of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and renal which are associated with hypertension. It encourages you to take a diet rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium and reduce your intake of sodium in your diet.

DASH diet is rich in vegetables, whole grains, fruits, fish, meat, poultry, nuts, beans, and low-fat dairy products. The diet helps you to reduce your systolic blood pressure by 8 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 3 mmHg, which could make a lot of difference in reducing morbidity and mortality in hypertensive patients. DASH diet also prevents osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes as it has a high quotient of antioxidant-rich food.

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Water retention : All you need to know about it!

We’ve all heard the term “Water weight” being thrown around, but if you don’t understand what exactly it is, then those especially in the midst of a weight loss program can get quite discouraged by its contingency. Contrary to popular belief, Water retention is actually a helpful signal since it indicates the imbalance in the body. Simply put, it is a symptom and not a disease and in serious cases, it can be an indication of a problem with the kidneys, heart or the circulatory system. 

Normally, if you are consuming a healthy and nutritious diet, along with adequate consumption of water, fluid retention will not occur. But, there can be certain instances wherein your body will begin retaining fluid, therefore it becomes crucial to understand what is happening, so that the fluid levels within the body can be brought back to optimal levels. 

Let’s therefore learn how to spot it and treat it early.

What is water retention?

Water retention is defined as the excess buildup of fluid within the body tissues that can take up a variety of forms ranging from bloated belly, swollen ankles and puffiness and swelling of eyelids to nausea, fatigue and persistent coughing. 

What causes water retention?

Before the causes are explained, let’s emphasise on the fact that there can be several reasons as to why your body is retaining excess fluid. Although some of these causes can be easily treated, there are however certain tenets that may be indicative of a more serious underlying issue. It is therefore important to consult with a healthcare professional to come to a sound diagnosis. 

We will now discuss some lifestyle factors that are contributive to water retention, and ways of preventing it. 

– Consuming a diet that is high in Sodium : 

The body requires an adequate amount of Sodium and Potassium to maintain optimum levels of fluid in the body. Eating more than required salt can cause the body to retain water. It is therefore recommended to consume a maximum intake of 2300 mg (1 tsp) of salt per day for healthy individuals and not more than 1500 mg of salt per day for people with Heart disease and Hypertension.

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– Hormonal fluctuations  : 

Women seem to hold more water weight in the days leading up to their menstrual cycles. It is very common and happens due to hormonal changes which prepares the body for monthly menses . These hormonal fluctuations lead to greater water retention in the body of a woman.

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– Standing or sitting for long periods of time  : 

A lot of water retention can be caused by prolonged periods of sedentary activity like sitting, sleeping, or standing still in one place. This is because sitting or standing still can cause your body tissues to retain fluid due to increase in blood pressure inside the vessels of legs and feet.

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 Other possible causes of water retention can be :

Kidney, Heart or Circulatory system disorders

– Certain medications like Hypertension medications, pain relievers, antidepressants etc

– Pre-eclampsia, cirrhosis of the liver, protein loss due to malnutrition

Now, If you’re nodding your head in agreement to all the signs and causes of water retention, and verbally agreeing to reading the above and saying “ Yes, I seem to have all those symptoms”, then continue reading below to find out some general remedies that can help you with Fluid retention!

General Lifestyle and Dietary suggestions :

  1. Consuming the recommended intake of upto 2300 mg of salt (1 tsp) for healthy individuals and less than 1500 mg of salt intake for individuals with Heart disease and Hypertension.
  2. Avoid canned foods including canned vegetables, soups, sauces etc.
  3. Avoid processed foods like potato chips, salted peanuts and other junk foods.
  4. Check food labels and opt for lower salt choices.
  5. In general opt for home cooked foods rather than restaurant foods.
  6. Increase the intake of Potassium rich foods like Bananas, Raisins, Tender Coconut water, Apricot, Berries, Apples, Spinach, Mushrooms etc as Potassium deficiency can lead to water retention.
  7. Consuming adequate quantity of water (between 8-10 glasses per day or more in accordance with level of physical activity) and other fluids such as Herbal teas, Barley water etc.
  8. Regular exercise of upto 30-40 minutes can prove to be a game changer as it helps stimulate blood circulation. Lifting your legs up against the wall can also help drain excess water.

Taking care of yourself emotionally and physically is the most important divisive factor in any treatment method and subsequent result. Allow yourself to reap in the natural benefits of adopting a healthy, nutritious diet and lifestyle. Reach out to the team of Foodnwellness for customised and tailored made wellness programs!

For any serious underlying health condition resulting in persistent water retention leading up to 1-2 kg of weight gain within a week, make sure to first consult with a physician before making any changes to your current health routine or taking medical action.

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Vegetable Dalia

 

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Vegetable Dalia

  • Author: Meenu Agarwal
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 1x

Description

Dalia is very popular all over India. Vegetable Dalia is considered to be one of the simplest, healthier and scrumptious one pot vegan meal. This is low in fat, high in Iron and fiber, and its best dish for everyone. Vegetable Dalia is very easy where the Broken Wheat Aka cracked wheat/Dalia, vegetables, basic Indian spices are cooked with Onion, ginger, garlic based tempering. Bulgur Wheat, is a healthy alternative to whole wheat as it contains the outer bran, which makes it an excellent source of dietary fiber.  Dalia is low in fats that not only aids in weight management but also prevents Obesity. So replacing wheat rotis or rice with Dalia is not a bad idea to boost your weight loss efforts. Dalia is also good for Diabetic and Gluten Intolerance patient.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Dalia
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots
  • ¼ cup chopped potatoes
  • ¼ cup shelled green peas/fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • salt as required
  • ¼ tsp Red chili powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder

Instructions

1) Heat cooking oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and let it crackle.

2) Add chopped onions and sauté till they become transparent. Now add chopped ginger, green chilies and sauté properly.

3) Add chopped tomato and sauté for 1 minute. Now add all the veggies of your choice and sauté till the vegetables are soft and tender.

4) Rinse the Dalia and add to the veggies. Stir for 3-4 minutes. Add 2 cups water and all the vegetables. Stir well occasionally till Dalia is cooked well.

5) If the Dalia has not cooked completely, then add some more water and cook on low medium flame without the lid till they are softened.

6) Garnish vegetable Dalia with chopped coriander leaves and sprinkle lemon juice on top.

7) Serve hot with coriander chutney.



Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 250 - 260 KCAL
  • Fat: 12 – 15 GM
  • Carbohydrates: 40 - 50 GM
  • Protein: 6 – 8 GM

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Lotus Stem Curry

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LOTUS STEM CURRY


Description

These luscious Lotus sets are a great source of dietary fibre, phytonutrients and other source of vitamins and minerals. It helps reduce stress, water retention and is great for skin, hair and those who have hypertension. They can be boiled, air fried, added into salads or even eaten raw. Try out this lotus stem curry and surprise your friends and family with this delicious treat.


Scale

Ingredients

1 medium size Lotus Stem – cut into small rounds

1 Green Chilly, finely chopped

½ Tsp Cumin

Masalas:

Salt, to taste

1/4 TspTurmeric

½ Tsp Red Chili powder.

1 tspDhania Powder.

¼ tsp garam masala

 


Instructions

  • Thoroughly clean the Lotus Stems by scrubbing off all visible traces of mud off them. Run water through the holes till they are clean.
  • Peel, wash once again and cut into medium sized rounds.
  • In a pressure cooker add the chopped Lotus stem with enough water to cover them, add salt and pressure cook till half cooked (2-3 whistles should be good) When done, keep aside, with the water.
  • Heat a heavy bottomed Kadhai and add Oil to it.
  • When the Oil heats up add the Jeera and wait for it to pop.
  • Add the chopped Green Chilies and sauté till they don’t seem raw anymore.
  • Fry well, till the masalas are cooked and Oil starts leaving the mixture.
  • Add this cooked mix to the semi cooked Lotus Stem in the cooker. Add water if required.
  • Pressure cook till done (2-3 whistles).
  • Serve hot with Rice or chapattis.


Nutrition

  • Calories: 100 - 110 KCAL
  • Fat: 3 - 6 GM
  • Carbohydrates: 14 – 18 GM
  • Protein: 4-6 GM

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High Blood Pressure

Hypertension or High Blood Pressure: The silent killer

Hypertension, or an abnormally high blood pressure, is almost as common as common cold in the present times. However, this abundance is not the worst manifestation of this medical condition. It is rather the fact that it comes and stays without prior warnings, which means there are no specific symptoms to signal its presence. It is a long term medical condition and one can be affected for years without having the knowledge of it.

The fact that it does not announce its presence with symptoms makes it difficult to identify and hence treat. Some people report headaches or dizziness but these can’t be considered as symptoms directly associated with high blood pressure.

There are two categories of Hypertension:

Primary or Essential, where the cause is mostly unknown and symptoms almost absent; and

Secondary, which suggests sustained stage of the same where it is accompanied by additional signs and symptoms. These additional symptoms are of medical conditions that coexist with hypertension, that are also deemed to be the cause of it. The prevalent cause of secondary hypertension is kidney diseases, but hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Cushing syndrome and other endocrine conditions are also potential causes.

Although apparently harmless initially, a prolonged state of hypertension can be damaging in two ways— increased work load on the heart, and its effect on arteries. The increase work load on the heart causes the size of tissue of the cardiac muscles to expand. As the state of hypertension progresses, the heart becomes weaker. This wear and tear ultimately leads to a plethora of hypertensive heart diseases, coronary and peripheral artery diseases, stroke and chronic kidney diseases, causing multiple organ damage.

Like in most medical conditions, hypertension too should ideally be nabbed at the primary stage before it progresses to cause additional damage to the body. Experts advise regular health check-ups to keep track of the blood pressure, especially if you have a family history of hypertension behind you. Although mostly unknown, the following have been loosely considered causes of primary hypertension:

  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Maternal smoking and lack of breastfeeding in women

Nutrition and exercise: The role of well-balanced lifestyle in a condition of hypertension

At the primary stage, the few causes that can be kept in check are obesity, stress, depression and poor choice of lifestyle. The role of nutritional management in keeping a medical condition of hypertension, therefore, is paramount. A gradual weight loss in overweight obese individuals and maintenance of body weight slightly below normal levels is what one should aim for when targeting hypertension at the essential level. Expert-monitored diet plans that are crafted to individual need, coupled with regular aerobic physical activity, like brisk walking and light jogging are instrumental in maintaining a healthy lifestyle so as to check the onset of complications in a medical condition that arrives unannounced but leaves behind damaging consequences.

 

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