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Struggle with High-Blood Pressure? Try this “DASH” High-Blood Pressure Diet Plan!

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Struggle with High-Blood Pressure? Try this “DASH” High-Blood Pressure Diet Plan!

If your blood pressure is constantly 140/90, or higher, that means you have hypertension, or high blood pressure. Since it mostly does not display any symptoms, the only way to know for sure if you have high blood pressure is to measure it regularly and visit the doctor to confirm the diagnosis.

High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” for a reason – you don’t feel any symptoms, but it can do a lot of damage to your body. It puts additional pressure on your heart and blood vessels, and may lead to several serious complications such as:

  • Aneurysm
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease

Having a high blood pressure requires changes in your lifestyle, with the diet being one of the aspects that can greatly influence this condition.

How food influences your blood pressure

Some types of foods can aggravate your blood pressure. You should stay away from foods that contain a lot of salt. You should reduce the daily intake of sodium to 1,500 mg. Furthermore, stay away from sugar, as it leads to obesity which in return increases the blood pressure. The American Heart Association advises limiting  the intake of alcohol to one or two drinks per day as this also causes the increase in blood pressure.

Foods that are high in potassium, magnesium and fiber should be a part of your high blood pressure diet as they can be natural remedies that help you normalize the blood pressure. There is a vast range of fruits and vegetables rich in those nutrients, thus you can easily incorporate them into your dietary plan.

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Foods that increase your blood pressure Foods that help normalize blood pressure
Canned soups Bananas
Pickled vegetables Apricots
Deli meat Potatoes
Frozen pizza Spinach
Sweets Green beans
Canned tomato products Beets
Red meat Oatmeal

Regulate your blood pressure with DASH diet

DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a dietary plan that aims to reduce the foods that can spike up your blood pressure and it introduces various types of food that contain nutrients that can bring benefits to people suffering from high blood pressure. It was designed by the USA National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute with the aim to reduce blood pressure but it was found helpful with weight loss, reducing cholesterol and controlling diabetes, and for six years in a row it has been proclaimed as the best diet by US News and World Report.

The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat or nonfat dairy, whole grains, lean meat, fish and poultry, nuts and beans. It follows recommendations on the sodium intake and the consumption of healthy nutrients. It has been evaluated by numerous researches.

The DASH plan includes:

Type of food Number of servings for 1600 – 3100 Calorie diets Servings on a 2000 Calorie diet
Grains and grain products
(include at least 3 whole grain foods each day)
6 – 12 7 – 8
Fruits 4 – 6 4 – 5
Vegetables 4 – 6 4 – 5
Low fat or non fat dairy foods 2 – 4 2 – 3
Lean meats, fish, poultry 1.5 – 2.5 2 or less
Nuts, seeds, and legumes 3 – 6 per week 4 – 5 per week
Fats and sweets 2 – 4 limited

High blood pressure diet plan

With many available recipes, it is easy to incorporate DASH plan and to have a diversified high blood pressure diet that suits your taste.

Breakfast

Applesauce French Toast

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What you need:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/4 cup non-sweet applesauce
  • 6 slices of whole wheat bread

How to prepare:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and soak the bread slices, then cook them over a lightly greased skillet until they become golden brown. Serve it with some light yogurt.

Lunch

Pizza in a Pita

What you need:

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  • 2 pieces of whole wheat pita bread
  • 1/2 cup of grated mozzarella cheese low on sodium
  • 1/4 cup of tomato sauce
  • Vegetables of your choosing

How to prepare:

Preheat the oven at 3500F (or 1800C). Split the bread into two pieces and put the tomato sauce, cheese and vegetables. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake it in the oven for 7-10 minutes. Serve it with some nonfat milk, and treat yourself with some cantaloupe afterwards.

Snack

Blueberry muffins

What you need:

  • 1 – 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of raw oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of dry milk
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup of frozen blueberries

How to prepare:

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Preheat the oven at 3500F (or 1800C). Mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients in two separate bowls. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix a little, then add the blueberries and mix again. Put the mixture into a muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes.

Dinner

Brown rice burgers

What you need:

  • 2 cups of cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup of chopped parsley
  • 1 cup of finely grated carrot
  • ½ cup of finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • ½ cup of whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

How to prepare:

Mix all ingredients, except the vegetable oil, in one bowl, and divide the mixture into 12 patties. Put the vegetable oil into a skillet and heat it. Cook the patties for 4-5 minutes on each side. You can serve the burgers with side dishes such as baked potato, or a salad, such as a tomato spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Treat yourself with some delicious fruit afterwards.

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Before taking any actions in treating your high blood pressure, you should consult a doctor to confirm the diagnosis and get some helpful medical advice.

Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/ via unsplash.com

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Ana Erkic

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Last Updated on January 27, 2022

5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

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5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

Food is a universal necessity.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

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Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

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The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

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Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

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So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

Featured photo credit: Young Shih via unsplash.com

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