The DASH eating plan is specifically recommended for lowering blood pressure. It is a modification of the USDA Dietary Guidelines with specific recommendation to lower sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg per day. It includes the following (note that the numbers after each food mentioned refer to the number of servings for 1,600-to-3,100-calorie diets and the number of servings on a 2,000-calorie diet, respectively):
— Whole grains: 6-12; 7-8
— Fruit: 4-6; 4-5
— Vegetables: 4-6; 4-5
— Low-fat dairy: 2-4; 2-3
— Lean meat, fish, poultry: 1.5-2.5; 2 or less
— Nuts, seeds, legumes: 3-6 per week; 4-5 per week
— Fats and sweets: 2-4; limited
The DASH eating plan has helped more than 80% of individuals with either prehypertension or hypertension achieve a normal blood pressure. The DASH diet has successfully reduced blood pressure in those with the metabolic syndrome. These blood pressure reductions are much greater than those treated with the weight-reducing diets.
Moreover, the DASH diet has a favorable influence on body weight, lipids, and fasting blood glucose. The DASH diet deviates from the traditional American diet by providing much more fiber, less fat and cholesterol, greater amounts of calcium, magnesium and potassium, and less sodium on account of greater intakes of fresh fruits and vegetables. For these reasons, this eating plan is not preferred by most people who have tried it and compliance is relatively low. Advice from expert is to change your diet slowly towards the DASH eating plan instead of jumping right into it.
And here is what you can complement the diet with: supplements! (Note that each supplement is followed by: the daily dose; systolic blood pressure reduction; and diastolic reduction.)
— Calcium: 1,200 mg; 1.86 mmHg; 0.99 mmHg
— Fiber: 11.5 grams; 1.13 mmHg; 1.26 mmHg
— Cocoa: N/A; 4.7 mmHg; 2.8 mmHg
— Vitamin C: 500 mg; 9.9 mmHg; 4.4 mmHg
— Linolenic acid: 2.6-7.8 gram; 10 mmHg; 8 mmHg
— Garlic: 600-900 mg; 8.4 mmHg; 7.3 mmHg
— Coenzyme Q10: 200 mg; 6.1 mmHg; 2.9 mmHg
Note: It is very important to know that every five-mmHg drop in your systolic blood pressure means a seven-percent drop in risk for cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke).