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Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension

Adam Pruett RD,LD
Published: March 09, 2017
Dash Diet Food Pyramid

High blood pressure is a common problem for most Americans living today.  According to the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 27% of the adult population has high blood pressure (systolic BP > 140 mm Hg, diastolic BP > 90 mm Hg).  Likewise, the percentage of American population considered overweight/obese has increased to astronomical proportions. 

So, how does being overweight relate to high blood pressure?  Well, being overweight/obese is the leading cause of high blood pressure.  As our bodies continue to gain fat mass our heart has to pump extra hard to send blood to the excess mass.  When the heart pumps harder it places more stress on the arteries, thus raising blood pressure.

Besides weight loss what can I do to reduce my blood pressure?  Popular belief shows that consuming a diet low in sodium (a.k.a. salt) will help.  One particular type of diet is called “the DASH Diet.”  It incorporates the use of preferred eating habits (reduction in calorie intake and moderation of alcohol) with a focus on low sodium intake. 

In general, the diet wants you to consume low-fat foods that do not contain much sodium.  For a total day, your total sodium intake should be < 2,300 milligrams.  This is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of salt.  A more detailed outline of the DASH diet is listed in the chart provided.  

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/hbp-dash-introduction-html

Tags: Nutrition

March 09, 2017

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Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension

Dash Diet Food Pyramid

High blood pressure is a common problem for most Americans living today.  According to the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 27% of the adult population has high blood pressure (systolic BP > 140 mm Hg, diastolic BP > 90 mm Hg).  Likewise, the percentage of American population considered overweight/obese has increased to astronomical proportions. 

So, how does being overweight relate to high blood pressure?  Well, being overweight/obese is the leading cause of high blood pressure.  As our bodies continue to gain fat mass our heart has to pump extra hard to send blood to the excess mass.  When the heart pumps harder it places more stress on the arteries, thus raising blood pressure.

Besides weight loss what can I do to reduce my blood pressure?  Popular belief shows that consuming a diet low in sodium (a.k.a. salt) will help.  One particular type of diet is called “the DASH Diet.”  It incorporates the use of preferred eating habits (reduction in calorie intake and moderation of alcohol) with a focus on low sodium intake. 

In general, the diet wants you to consume low-fat foods that do not contain much sodium.  For a total day, your total sodium intake should be < 2,300 milligrams.  This is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of salt.  A more detailed outline of the DASH diet is listed in the chart provided.  

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/hbp-dash-introduction-html

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