DASH diet: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension

This diet can have a significant impact on those who are hypertensive or pre-hypertensive. This is a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, fiber, and low-fat dairy products. It is low in sweets, meats, bread, and fat. The diet also aims to keep sodium (or salt) consumption below 2 grams per day. If you come in to my office with elevated blood pressures, you will leave with this diet in hand. I prescribe it before medications are initiated or along with medications.

How can I reduce the salt in my diet?

– Do not add salt to your food.

– Avoid eating packaged or processed foods. (Look at the sodium content on the back of the box. Do not forget to look at the serving size.)

– Avoid canned food. Yes, even the reduced sodium labels. Go for fresh or frozen produced.

– Avoid eating out. Restaurants usually use a lot of salt to season food.

Things to avoid:

– Meats: anchovies, sardines, bacon, ham, sausage, chitterlings, chipped beef, corned beef, fatback, hot dogs, lunch meats

– Milk products: butter, cheese spreads, condensed milk, ice cream, sherbet, processed cheese

– Vegetables: canned soups, pickles, olives, pickled beets, sauerkraut, tomato juice

– Snacks: corn chips, potato chips, pretzels, salted nuts, salted popcorn, soda crackers

– Seasonings: baking powder, baking soda, bouillon, ketchup, chili sauce, garlic salt, horseradish, meat tenderizer, monosodium glutamate, mustard, soy sauce

Things that are good:

– Fruits: apples, apricots, avocado, banana, cantaloupe, dates, grapefruit, honeydew melon, nectarine, prunes, raisins, watermelon, apple juice, grape fruit juice, prune juice, orange juice

– Vegetables: asparagus, beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage (cooked), cauliflower (cooked), corn on the cob, eggplant (cooked), lima beans, green peas, peppers, potatoes (baked or broiled), radish, squash (cooked)

Seasonings to try:

– Basil, bay leaves, brown sugar, chives, cinnamon, cloves, chopped onion, dill seed, dry mustard, fruit, ginger, green pepper, lemon juice, mint, mace, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, paprika, pepper, pepper sauce, rosemary, sage, thyme, vinegar

– Do not use a salt substitute!

What I always tell my patient is eat things that grow from the ground. Eat fruits and vegetables. Season your food with things that grow. Tony Chachere’s and Worcestershire sauce do not grow!

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