Excess body weight is closely related to increased blood pressure. Therefore, weight reduction lowers blood pressure in a large portion of people who have high blood pressure and are more than 10% over ideal weight. Excessive alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure and cause resistance to high blood pressure therapy. If you drink alcohol, you should limit your daily intake to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
Regular participation in aerobic exercise and physical activity is beneficial for both preventing and treating high blood pressure. Unfit people with normal blood pressure have a 20% to 50% increased risk of developing high blood pressure compared to their more active and fit peers. The higher your salt intake, the higher your blood pressure, and almost all Americans consume more salt than they need. African Americans, older and middle-aged adults, and people with high blood pressure are more sensitive to salt than others.
A COPY OF THE DASH MEAL PLANS
The DASH eating plan is based on 2,000 calories a day. Use this chart to help you make food choices or take it with you when you go to the grocery store.
* Grains and Grain Products
1. Daily servings: 7 to 8
2. Serving sizes: 1 slice of bread, 1 oz. dry cereal, 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta, cereal
3. Examples: whole wheat bread, English muffin, pita bread, bagel, cereal, grits, oatmeal, crackers, unsalted pretzels, popcorn
4. Importance of the food group for the DASH eating plan: main source of energy and fiber
1. Daily servings: 4 to 5
2. Serving sizes: 1 cup raw leafy vegetables, 1/2 cup cooked vegetables, 6 oz. vegetable juice
3. Examples: tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, peas, squash, broccoli, turnip greens, collard greens, kale, spinach, artichokes, green beans, lima beans, sweet potatoes.
4. Importance of the food group for the DASH eating plan: rich source of potassium, magnesium and fiber
1. Daily servings: 4 to 5
2. Serving sizes: 6 oz. fruit juice, 1 medium fruit, 1/4 cup dried fruit, 1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit
3. Examples: apricots, bananas, dates, grapes, oranges, orange juice, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, mangoes, melons, peaches, pineapples, plums, grapes, strawberries, tangerines.
4. Importance of the food group for the DASH eating plan: important sources of potassium, magnesium and fiber
* Low-fat or fat-free dairy products
1. Daily Serving Sizes: 2 to 3
2. Serving sizes: 8 oz. milk, 1 cup yogurt, 1 1/2 oz. cheese
3. Examples: Fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk, fat-free or low-fat buttermilk, fat-free or low-fat regular or frozen yogurt, low-fat and fat-free cheese
4. Importance of the food group for the DASH eating plan: main sources of calcium and protein
* Meat, poultry and fish
1. Daily servings: 2 or less
2. Serving sizes: 3 oz. cooked meat, poultry, or fish
3. Examples: Select only lean meat, remove visible fats, broil, broil or boil instead of frying, remove skin from poultry
4. Importance to the food group for the DASH eating plan: rich sources of protein and magnesium
* Nuts, seeds and dried beans
1. Daily service: 4 to 5 per week
2. Serving sizes: 1/3 cup or 1 1/2 oz. walnuts, 2 tablespoons or 1/2 oz. seeds, 1/2 cup cooked dry beans, peas
3. Examples: almonds, hazelnuts, dried fruits, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, lentils.
4. Importance of the food group for the DASH eating plan: rich source of energy, magnesium, potassium, protein and fiber
* Fats and oils
1. Daily servings: 2 to 3
2. Serving sizes: 1 teaspoon soft margarine, 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise, light salad dressing, vegetable oil such as olive, corn, canola, or safflower
3. Examples: soft margarine, low-fat mayonnaise, light salad dressing, vegetable oil such as olive, corn, canola, or safflower.
4. Importance of the food group to the DASH eating plan: DASH has 27% of calories in the form of fat, including fat in or added to food
1. Daily servings: 5 per week
2. Serving sizes: 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 tablespoons jelly or marmalade, 1/2 oz. jelly beans, 8 oz. lemonade
3. Examples: maple syrup, sugar, gelatin, jam, fruit flavored gelatin, jelly beans, hard candy, fruit punch, sorbet, ice cream
4. Importance of the food group to the DASH eating plan: sweets should be low in fat
Note: Fat content changes the fat and oil serving count. For example, 1 tablespoon of regular salad dressing equals 1 serving, 1 tablespoon of low-fat dressing equals 1/2 serving, 1 tablespoon of fat-free dressing equals 0 servings.