DASH Diet – Healthy Eating to Lower your Blood Pressure
Ready to start following the DASH diet? Here are some tips to help you along the way!
- Read food labels. Check each item for sodium, sugars and fats before putting them in your cart.
- Avoid processed meats such as bacon, sausage, ham, hotdogs, and bologna.
- Choose fresh or frozen vegetables as the canned varieties add sodium/more preservatives.
- Avoid or limit pickled foods. These are high in salt.
- Consider low sodium cheese options such as fresh mozzarella or swiss cheese.
- Replace salt as a seasoning. Try other spices.
- Rinse canned foods before cooking to remove most of the added salt.
- Replace salt with nutrient-dense food/veggies that do contain sodium but also have health benefits as well.
- Beets. These are delicious and have a lot of fiber, vitamins and have sodium as well. (One beet has about 65mg of sodium). You can slice and bake them to make a healthy beet chip.
- Celery and Carrot. Both have about 50mg of sodium and include vitamins and fiber. Add these items to your baked chicken next times instead of using that saltshaker!
- Seaweed. A great addition to a salad that imparts some flavor.
- Shrimp/Seafood. Avoid adding extra salt to these flavor-packed foods
Tips for dining out
- Skip the sauce or ask that you get it on the side. Sauces and gravies contain a lot of sodium.
- Try to stick to basic low fat grilled or baked meats as opposed to casserole dishes.
- Be aware that ketchup and mustard can carry a lot of added sodium.
- Be careful of portion sizes of cheese, croutons and olives and other starters.
- Chinese food and pizza have a lot of sodium. Order plain stir fry with soy sauce on the side. Try a veggie pizza (as opposed to pepperoni or sausage) to help curb the sodium.
Top it off with potassium
Potassium helps your body get rid of extra sodium 1. This means for many people with high blood pressure potassium is a good thing.
That said, too much potassium can also be a problem. This is especially true for those with underlying kidney disease. In an average adult the recommended potassium daily intake is about 4,700 mg daily. 2
When you are eating DASH style, you will likely increase your potassium intake. Avocados, bananas, potatoes, lima beans, oranges, and spinach are a few DASH friendly foods that are high in potassium.
Putting the pieces of the DASH diet together
Change gradually, reward successes and forgive slip-ups! Get support if you need it. Remember, healthy eating isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. What’s most important is that, on average, you eat healthier foods with plenty of variety.
For personalized advice please consult your provider.
The articles provided on this website are for informational purposes only. In addition, it is written for a generic audience and not a specific case; therefore, this information should not be used for diagnostic or medical treatment. This site does not attempt to replace the patient-physician relationship and fully recommends the reader to seek out the best care from his/her physician and/or diabetes educator.