Here’s how you can naturally lower your blood pressure.
This article is the second in a three-part series with Omron Healthcare to help spread the word about the importance of monitoring your blood pressure and making lifestyle choices that help keep your pressure in check. Since May is Stroke Awareness Month, now’s a great time to start taking better care of your ticker.
As part of the program, I’ve been checking my blood pressure with the Omron EVOLV home blood pressure monitor. It’s so simple: You just put the cuff on your arm, push the start button and voila, you get an accurate measure of your blood pressure in the comfort of your own home. Since I tend to get nervous at my doctor’s office, I get a more accurate picture of my blood pressure when I can monitor my blood pressure at home.
Since I’m pretty good about monitoring my blood pressure, I can easily adapt my diet and lifestyle if I see it trending upward. When it does, my first step to correct is eating a DASH-style diet. Not only will it naturally temper my pressure it generally helps me lose a few lbs. that is usually involved whenever I have a higher-than-desired blood pressure reading.
If you haven’t heard about it, it’s the DASH diet. It is consistently ranked as the healthiest eating style by U.S. News and World Report, among others.
Discover the DASH Diet
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (D.A.S.H.) eating plan was developed by the National Institutes of Health to help lower blood pressure. DASH is not only one of the best ways to eat for your heart, it’s also good for weight loss, reduced risk for type 2 diabetes, and much more. And, because it’s a plant-first eating plan, it’s also a more sustainable way to eat.
Rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, beans and fat-free or low-fat dairy products, it’s easy to make great-tasting meals while adhering to the DASH guidelines. The DASH Diet guidelines include these servings of each of the food groups for a 1,600-calorie diet to help you lose lbs. For most women, following a 1,600 calorie-a-day meal plan will result in weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week.
The DASH Diet
Food Group Servings
Grains (at least 3 whole grain per day) = 6
Vegetables = 3-4
Fruits = 4
Low-fat or Fat free Dairy Foods = 2-3
Meats, Poultry, & Fish = 3-6
Nuts, Seeds, & Legumes = 3/week
Fats & Oils = 2
Sweets = 0
1 ounce breads: ½ small bagel, 1 slice bread, 1 Light Whole-Wheat English Muffin, ½ Hamburger or hotdog bun, 1 Pancake; 1 6-inch pita, ½ 6-inch corn or flour tortilla,
½ Cup Cooked Grains: Barley, bulgur, rice, oats, quinoa, and pasta
1/2-cup starchy vegetables like corn, peas, pumpkin,
*Recommended breads contain at least 4 grams protein and 4 grams fiber per slice.
*Recommended cold cereals provide at least 4 grams protein, 4 grams fiber and less than 10 grams sugar
1 medium piece most fruits (apple,
1 small banana or ½ medium
1 cup berries, melon
¼ cup Dried Fruit
½ cup Canned Fruit (packed in juice)
6 ounces 100% Juice
1 cup raw or leafy greens,
½ cup cooked greens
½ cup juice
Nonfat or Lowfat Dairy Servings
1 cup Skim milk
1 cup 1% milk
1 cup Low-fat buttermilk
½ cup Evaporated skim milk
1/3 cup Dry nonfat milk
8 ounces Plain nonfat yogurt
1 cup 2% milk
8 ounces Plain low-fat yogurt
1 ½ ounces cheese
Lean Protein Servings
1 ounce lean beef, chicken, turkey or 1 egg or 2 egg whites
1 tsp Oil (vegetable, corn, canola, olive, etc.)
1 Tbs Reduced-fat margarine or mayonnaise
1 Tbs Salad dressing
2 Tbs light cream cheese
8 large Black olives
Nuts and Seeds:
1/3 cup nuts
2 Tbs nut butter or seeds
Sample Menu Plan
1 cup whole grain cereal with
8 ounces skim milk
1 cup berries or 2 Tbs raisins
6 ounces low-fat yogurt
Garden salad with mixed chopped veggies, 2 ounces of tuna, and 2 Tbs light dressing
1 whole grain roll
1 Piece fresh fruit
Fresh veggies with 1 Tbs light ranch dressing
6 ounces nonfat Greek yogurt with 1 small banana
Chicken Taco Salad
3 ounces ground chicken breast (prepared with taco seasoning and chopped onion) with
2 Tbs avocado, 8 olives halved, chopped tomato, onion, cilantro over shredded iceberg lettuce with
1 small whole grain tortilla
For more information about home monitoring of your blood pressure and lifestyle changes that can have a big impact on helping you manage your pressure, and reduce your risk for heart attacks and stroke, visit Going for Zero.