Community Blog

The DASH Diet to Lower Blood Pressure

By Ketan Patel

Many aging seniors find that they now have high blood pressure, even if their blood pressure was within normal range their whole lives. Different kinds of prescription drugs may help, but before going on medication it might make sense to try altering your diet and eating less to lose weight, stay healthy and lower your blood pressure. The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is designed to treat or even prevent high blood pressure. The DASH diet offers suggestions that can also prevent a wide range of other diseases, including stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer. An in-home caregiver can help your loved one eat a heart healthy diet.

Here are the DASH recommendations for a 2,000 calorie per day diet:

  1. Lean Meat, Poultry and Fish

The DASH diet recommends fish high in omega-3 fatty acids to lower cholesterol, which in turn can lower blood pressure. If you do eat meat, which can have benefits like the B vitamins, protein, iron and zinc, cut back on portion size and trim the skin and fat. Bake, roast, grill or broil instead of frying. Limit your portion to 6 ounces per day.

  1. Whole Grains

Eat 6-8 servings of cereal, pasta, bread or rice per day. Use brown rice instead of while, whole grain bread labeled 100 percent whole grain, and whole wheat pasta. Avoid using butter, cheese sauces and cream with your whole grains.

  1. Veggies

Increase your intake of vitamins, fiber and minerals like magnesium and potassium with vegetables. Carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, greens and other colorful veggies can be used over grains as a main dish. Frozen vegetables are good, as long as they are not packed with too much sodium. Aim for 4-5 servings per day.

  1. Fruits

Increase the amount of fruit in your diet to reach the optimum 4-5 servings per day. Get into the habit of reaching for a fruit as a snack and with meals. Leave on the peels if they are edible, since they contain nutrients and fiber.

  1. Low-Fat Dairy Products

Yogurt, milk and cheese are good sources of protein, vitamin D and calcium. Use low or fat-free dairy products since you don’t want to load up on saturated fat. Skim or 1 percent milk is best. Keep in mind that cheese can be high in harmful sodium.

  1. Fats and Oils

Limit your total fat intake to under 30 percent of your daily caloric intake from fat. That way you can benefit from monounsaturated fats that boost your immune system and help your body absorb vitamins from food. Avoid transfats and saturated fat which can increase the risk of coronary artery disease. Limit butter, whole milk, eggs, cream, meat cheese and food with solid shortening to keep your daily intake of saturated fat under 6 percent of your total calories. Be sure to read labels.    

In addition, add nuts, seeds and legumes to your diet. Soybean products like tofu can be a good alternative to meat.

An In-Home Caregiver Can Help

An in-home caregiver can help your loved one stay on track with lifestyle choices like diet that can lead to a longer and stronger life. Home Helpers of South Shore is owned and operated by a compassionate health professional with a strong understanding of the needs of aging seniors. Contact Home Helpers to help your aging loved one.

Please fill out the form on the left and we will get in touch with you about setting up in-home health care, or call us at 781-585-1244 to determine the plan that is right for you.

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