|May is Blood Pressure Education Month
Diet alone can often be enough to control blood pressure.
May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month — an
opportune time to get your blood pressure checked. “Prevent
and Control High Blood Pressure: Mission Possible” is the
initiative designed by the National High Blood Pressure
Education Program to mobilize all Americans in the fight
against high blood pressure. Approximately 1 in 4 Americans
suffer from high blood pressure, and fortunately, this can be
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart
disease and the chief risk factor for stroke and heart
failure. It can also lead to kidney disease. May is designated
as a time to educate people about the importance of preventing
and treating high blood pressure.
Research has shown that following a healthy diet plan can both
reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure, and lower
an already elevated blood pressure. A recent study, Dietary
Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), showed blood pressure
could be lowered by following an eating pattern low in salt,
saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol and rich in fruits,
vegetables, whole gains and low-fat dairy products.
The DASH study shows the importance of lowering sodium intake
whatever your current diet may be, but the biggest reported
benefits were for people who reduced their intake of sodium to
less than 1,500 mg per day.
To begin using the DASH diet consider implementing the
Add a vegetable serving to lunch and dinner if not already
Add a fruit serving to each meal, or have as a snack
Use only half the margarine, salad dressing, or butter
Gradually increase diary products to three servings per day.
Drink skim milk with lunch and dinner
Try low-fat or fat-free condiments
Treat meat as one-fourth of the whole meal, or 6 ounces per
day; 3 ounces at lunch, 3 ounces at dinner
Include two or more vegetarian-style (meatless) meals each
Increase servings of vegetables, rice, pasta and dry beans in
meals. Try casseroles, pasta and stir fry dishes with less
meat and more vegetables
Use fruits or low-fat foods as desserts ad snacks. Use fruits
canned in their own juice, or fresh fruits that require little
to no preparation.
Try these snack ideas: raw vegetables, unsalted pretzels or
nuts mixed with raisins, graham crackers, low-fat and fat-free
yogurts, plain popcorn with a saltless spice blend instead of
butter and salt.
The following web sites offer helpful information:
Find the DASH diet on this National Institutes of Health web
American Dietetic Association:
National Institute of Nutrition: