Developed in the US, Dash is the acronym for Dietary Approaches to stop Hypertension, and has proved so healthy that it’s been recommended for everyone, not just those with hypertension.
As with the Mediterranean diet, the Dash diet concentrates on replacing high protein, saturated and animal fats, and refined sugars with more simple fare.
Pulses such as lentils and a variety of beans, fresh vegetables and fruit comprise the bulk of the Dash diet, with small portions of low-fat dairy products, meat, poultry, fish and nuts.
Many types of vegetable and fruit contain significant amounts of potassium, a mineral which, while similar to sodium (salt) appears to counteract it.
Potassium appears to replace and eliminate excess sodium from the body’s tissues, enabling dilation of the blood vessels and a lowering of the blood pressure.
Some studies indicate that higher levels of potassium in the blood may inhibit the formation of free radicals and the formation of blood clots, both of which play a role in the development of atherosclerosis.
One study showed that increased consumption of potassium by rats improved circulation to the brain and kidneys, indicating that it could reduce the risk of strokes and kidney damage, two common results of hypertension.
The Dash diet suggests a maximum of two portions of meat, poultry or fish, and three portions of low-fat or non-fat dairy food per week.
The Dash diet has been found to lower blood pressure among hypertensive people. In the US it’s been recommended particularly to African Americans, who tend to eat small amounts of fruit and vegetables and who have a high occurrence of hypertension, kidney failure and strokes.
The Dash diet
Using the Dash diet in South Africa
Hypertension and diet