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

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.

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

Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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