Categories: Health & Fitness

DASH diet: what benefits for cardiovascular health?

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From factors of risk cardiovascular, we count cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, stress, tobacco… Healthy eatinga regular physical activity, smoking cessation and a good stress management helps prevent cardiovascular disease. The DASH diet is often recommended: its benefits for cardiovascular health are well established.

DASH: a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet

The DASH diet (“ Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension in English) is a diet developed by American researchers in order to reduce high blood pressure. Two studies were conducted in the 1990s on people with hypertension, who were asked to follow several diets, including the DASH diet. Result: the diet enriched with vegetables and fruits and the DASH diet both lowered the patients’ blood pressure. It is now considered one of the best diets in the world.

It promotes weight loss, normal blood pressure and a reduction in bad cholesterol

Close to the Mediterranean diet, it is the most effective in maintaining normal blood pressureor lower it if it is too high. It even promotes weight loss and reduction in LDL-cholesterolfor the benefit of cardiovascular health.

The main food groups recommended on the DASH diet are:

  • Vegetables and fruits ;
  • Grain products (especially whole grains);
  • low-fat or fat-free dairy products;
  • Lean meat, poultry, fish;
  • Nuts, seeds and dried beans;
  • Fat body.

The principle of the DASH diet: how does it work?

The DASH diet is based on the following principles:

  • Increase your potassium, magnesium, antioxidants and fiber intakesby eating more vegetables and fruits (8 to 10 servings per day), whole grain foods, oilseeds and dried fruits and vegetables (4 to 5 servings per week);
  • Reduce saturated fats, by giving priority to semi-skimmed or lean dairy products, fish, poultry and lean meats (maximum 2 servings per day), as well as vegetal oils (2 to 3 tbsp/day);
  • Limit sweets as much as possible (drinks and sweet products): less than 5 servings per week;
  • To limit oneself to 2.5 g of salt/day maximum.

On the program, foods rich in potassium to fight against hypertension

THE potassium rich foods are parsley, dried beans, bananas, dark chocolate with more than 70% cocoa, lentils, spinach, avocados… A diet rich in potassium has a positive effect on blood pressure. According to a study published in 2017 (source 1), one should ingest at least 4.7 grams of potassium per day to lower blood pressure. Thus, three-quarters of a cup of black beans would represent 50% of the necessary daily intake.

What food to remove when you have tension?

Prof. Claire Mounier-Vehier, head of the vascular medicine and arterial hypertension department at Lille CHRU, explains why excess salt is detrimental to good health.

  • Salt overactivates the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the autonomic activities of the organism. In response: the heart and arteries contract more;
  • It triggers the production of hormones by the adrenal glands which causes an increase in blood pressure;
  • It promotes the water retention in the kidney. Instead of being eliminated, this water goes back into the bloodstream, increasing blood volume, and therefore blood pressure;
  • It promotes the weight gain especially abdominal hypertension risk factor. As abdominal obesity itself stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, a vicious circle sets in.

What is 1 gram of salt?

On average, 1 g of salt is found in:

  • 1 C. mustard;
  • 1 C. soy sauce;
  • 2 tbsp. level tablespoons of ketchup;
  • 3 black olives or 5 green olives;
  • 1 slice of raw ham;
  • 1 slice of smoked salmon or trout;
  • 2 slices of white ham or chicken breast;
  • 3-4 surimi sticks;
  • 4 slices of dry sausage or chorizo;
  • 1 brioche or 1 pastry;
  • 1 small bowl of soup or store-bought vegetable juice;
  • 30-40g of cheese;
  • 1 bowl of crisps or aperitif biscuits (60 g);
  • 1/6th of store-bought pizza;
  • 80 g of salted bread, either 1/3 of a baguette or 4 slices of cut bread;
  • 125 g canned tuna or sardines;
  • 150 to 200 g canned vegetables, drained.

DASH diet: 6 effective examples to follow on a daily basis

These tips are given by Lisa Desrousseaux, dietician.

  • Cook yourself as much as possible, favoring raw products (meat, fish, fresh or frozen vegetables, etc.);
  • Limit the use of stock cubeswhich each provide between 1 g and 2 g of salt depending on the brand: “If they are essential in a recipe, only add a half instead of a whole”;
  • Avoid accumulating salty products on the same day : “We have the right to indulge ourselves with a ½ pizza at noon, provided we take it into account at other meals”;
  • Replace salt by spices, aromatic herbs, ginger, garlic, onions… “Don’t hesitate to mix things up until you find the ones you really like”;
  • Decipher the labels “If the sodium content is indicated, it must be multiplied by 2.5 to obtain the salt value”.

What drink to drink when you have hypertension?

Prefer the still waters and prefer sparkling waters low in salt (less than 50 mg of sodium per litre): Perrier, Salvetat, San Pellegrino.

#DASH #diet #benefits #cardiovascular #health

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