Nearly half of all Americans have high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), a condition where the heart exerts more force to pump blood through the body. This can harm your arteries and blood vessels, as well as your heart, and can lead to serious complications. In fact, this condition is often referred to as a “silent killer,” because most people don’t realize that they have it. If left untreated, high blood pressure may result in a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, or even death. Dairy foods can help you manage this condition!
Since there is no cure for high blood pressure, it’s critical for people who are living with the condition to stick to their medication schedule and build a heart-healthy lifestyle so they can manage the effects and prevent significant long-term damage to various body systems.
DASH Eating Plan
Numerous research trials have demonstrated that a diet called DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) consistently lowers blood pressure across a diverse range of patients with high blood pressure. Compared to many other therapeutic diets (eating plans that treat medical conditions), DASH requires no special foods, so you can shop at your usual grocery store. It’s also built on attainable daily and weekly goals like these:
- Eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils.
- Be mindful when eating foods that are high in saturated fat and beverages and sweets with added sugar.
How Does It Work?
The key nutrients in the DASH Eating Plan are potassium, calcium, magnesium, and protein. Dairy foods are a key source of all four. Such nutrients play a role in blood pressure regulation as shown by this study, where participants who consumed the most servings of dairy foods on a daily basis saw a greater reduction in blood pressure after six weeks than those that consumed one or fewer servings.
Because the DASH Eating Plan focuses on everyday foods, getting started is easy! Here are a few simple ways to incorporate dairy into your day.
To learn more about the DASH Eating Pattern, visit the website or connect with an expert Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to see if this way of eating is right for you.