I can hear you mumbling what on earth is the DASH Diet?Â
Well, the DASH dietÂ is known as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.Â The DASH diet is low in sodium, fat, and sugar and high in fiber, potassium, magnesium, and other nutrients. On the DASH diet, you do this by limiting your intake of animal fats, processed foods (the primary source of sodium in the diet), and sweets, and loading up on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains foods. In other words, it's a fairly common-sense healthy diet.Â
Vegetarians, in general, have lower blood pressure levels and a lower incidence of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. ExpertsÂ that perhapsÂ a typical vegetarian's diet contains more potassium, complex carbohydrates, polyunsaturated fat, fiber, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin A, all of which may have a favorable influence on blood pressure.
Whole grains and Veggies every day!
A high-fiber diet has been shown to be effective in preventing and treating many forms of cardiovascular disease, including hypertension.Â The types of dietary fiber is important. Of the greatest benefit to hypertension are the water soluble gel-forming fibers such as oat bran, apple pectin, psyllium seeds, and guar gum. These fibers, in addition to be of benefit against hypertension, are also useful to reduce cholesterol levels, promote weight loss, chelate out heavy metals, etc.
Sucrose, common table sugar, elevates blood pressure andÂ possibley that sugar increases the production of adrenaline, which in turn, increases blood vessel constriction and sodium retention.
A key to healthy eating is choosing foods lower in salt and sodium. Before the widespread availability of medication to control high blood pressure, people with serious hypertension had only one treatment option, a drastically salt-reduced, low-calorie "rice diet." Some people can significantly lower their blood pressure by avoiding salt.
Studies show that people in countries that use a great deal of salt in their cooking tend to have higher blood pressures than people in countries that use little salt. For example, the Japanese, whose cuisine is among the saltiest in the world, also have the highest blood pressure; and so do Americans. Americans take it for granted that blood pressure will rise as we age. But in countries with low per-capita salt intake, blood pressure does not rise significantly after puberty. For example, blacks in Africa, who typically eat a low-salt, high-fiber diet, have relatively low blood pressure, but for African-Americans, just the opposite is true. Nearly 50 percent of all African-Americans have high blood pressure, often beginning early in life.
Beneficial Vegetables and Spices for Hypertension
A number of common vegetables and spices have beneficial effects in controlling hypertension.
Celery (Apium graveolens). Oriental Medicine practitioners have long used celery for lowering high blood pressure. There are some experimental evidence that shows that celery is useful for this. In one animal study, laboratory animals injected with celery extract showed lowered blood pressure. Eating as few as four celery stalks was found to be beneficial in lowering blood pressure in human beings.
Garlic (Allium sativum). Garlic is a wonder drug for heart. It has beneficial effects in all cardiovascular system including blood pressure. In a study, when people with high blood pressure were given one clove of garlic a day for 12 weeks, their diastolic blood pressure and cholesterol levels were significantly reduced. Eating quantities as small as one clove of garlic a day was found to have beneficial effects on managing hypertension. Use garlic in your cooking, salad, soup, pickles, etc. It is very versatile.
Onion (Allium cepa). Onions are useful in hypertension. What is best is the onion essential oil. Two to three tablespoons of onion essential oil a day was found to lower the systolic levels by an average of 25 points and the diastolic levels by 15 points in hypertension subjects. This should not be surprising because onion is a cousin of garlic.
Tomato (Lycopersicon lycopersicum). Tomatoes are high in gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), a compound that can help bring down blood pressure.
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea). This vegetable contains several active ingredients that reduce blood pressure.
Carrot (Daucus carota). Carrots also contain several compounds that lower blood pressure.
Saffron (Crocus sativus). Saffron contains a chemical called crocetin that lowers the blood pressure. You can use saffron in your cooking. (It is a very popular spice in Arabic cooking.) You can also make a tea with it. Many Indians add a pinch of saffron in the brewed tea to give a heavenly flavor. Unfortunately, it is very expensive.
Spices such as cilantro, fennel, oregano, black pepper, basil and tarragon have active ingredients that is beneficial in hypertension. Use them in your cooking.