Think you can’t stop hypertension, or high blood pressure? You might be able to if you follow a balanced eating pattern, such as the DASH diet. By combining DASH with exercise, individuals may be able to reduce blood pressure and cardiovascular risk factors. Originally implemented as a dietary plan to lower blood pressure, DASH has many advantages for health. Focusing on whole foods, this heart-healthy plan is high in fiber and low in saturated fats and added sugars. It can be a way of eating for the whole family, and also may reduce risk of stroke, heart disease and kidney stones. Fruits and vegetables are natural sources of potassium which has shown to be effective in lowering blood pressure. Since some studies show that low levels of potassium may be related to hypertension, keeping a diet rich in plant foods can provide enough potassium to maintain adequate levels. Unsalted nuts are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, the type which help lower your bad cholesterol LDL and increase your good cholesterol HDL.
A plant-focused diet long touted for its ability to lower blood pressure may also help prevent heart failure, according to a new study. The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and nuts while minimizing salt, sugar, and red meat consumption. Researchers relied on food frequency questionnaires from 4, people of multiple ethnicities from six communities in the United States to gauge how closely they followed a DASH-style eating pattern. The participants ranged in age from 45 to 84 and were free of heart disease when they joined the study, which began in The follow-up lasted a median of 13 years. Among people ages 75 and younger, those who followed the DASH diet more closely were less likely to develop heart failure than those whose eating habits were the least aligned with a DASH diet. Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. Harvard Heart Letter. Research we’re watching Published: August,
Heart disease is the 1 killer in America. There seems to be a cloud of misleading myths circulating around the disease. It used to be the common belief that heart disease was a process of aging; your blood pressure and cholesterol naturally went up as you got older. This is no longer commonly accepted, and personal trainers are in a unique position to help steer clients with risk factors towards healthier lifestyles, which includes a plant-based diet. Nowadays, the pervasive myth is that cholesterol accounts for only a minority of the risk and that many people have heart attacks without risk factors. This gives people the impression that there is not much they can do about heart disease prevention. Instead of it being a fact of aging, we accept it as a fact of life. Hypertension is indeed a risk factor for heart disease.
Bakris GL, et al. The people were not followed up over 10 years to see whether they developed heart disease. Start with small, achievable goals. The right foods can lower your blood pressure.