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Does anyone have any input on the "dash" diet?

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I am guessing most of it is BS, so I'm ignoring the recs to move to low-fat and OD on bread sticks (or canned fruit!!).

What's the newest scoop on diets that supposedly lower your blood pressure?

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  1. http://dashdiet.org/

    Not BS at all. The diet has been around for quite awhile, and if memory serves it was designed to lower blood pressure.

    I believe it is low fat and high in vegetables and fish. You could do a lot worse for a diet, I think. Not sure if it would be successful at reducing if you are insulin resistant, but I don't know.

    1. We eat a ton of vegetables, a variety of meat, fish & other seafood, tofu -- pasta rarely, rice almost never, potatoes sometimes, ditto for bread; now that it is summer more fruit, 2% yogurt w/honey and walnuts every morning....

      I just think there is not much we need to change, as I believe our diet is healthier than many things the dash diet recommends.

      2 Replies
      1. re: linguafood

        a brief look at the dash plan doesn't seem much different that the usda food pyramid, being very grain-based.

        i'd eliminate the tofu and get moving. soy can be problematic for many and nice long walks are great for blood pressure relief.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          We don't eat much tofu unless we go out, and even then, meats & seafood make up a much higher percentage than any soy products we consume. We eat relatively low-carb, but not religiously, as neither of us is diabetic, nor in danger of becoming so.

          The HBP, unfortunately, is due to crappy genes on my man's side, so he is taking meds for that. Plavix, now, too.

          As for moving around -- he never even would've noticed anything if we *didn't* usually work out 2-3 time a week. And by that I'm not talking about a leisurely stroll in the park. This is some hardcore k-boxing. When he started having trouble breathing during workouts is when we got suspicious.

          In any event. I don't think I'll be changing our diet much. He's already cut down on the booze, which is important. Other than that, we're eating just fine. And once the cardiac rehab is done with, he'll likely return to k-boxing again regularly.

      2. It's not BS, but it's difficult for me to stick with, because I like feta, olives, hot sauce, soy sauce and other salty things that enhance food. In a nutshell, it's a very low sodium and lower fat diet, and low/no sodium will lower most peoples' bp. I guess the trick is to add lots of basil, mint and cilantro! :)

        I try to keep the DASH principles in mind when I'm cooking, but they go out the window if I'm dining out. I can only think of a few healthy restos which would meet the criteria, and I make better healthy food at home.

        I think the canned fruit and breadsticks are just lower fat /lower sodium suggestions for people who mostly eat processed, higher fat, higher sodium foods, who are trying to diet. I think the researchers behind the DASH plan would agree that fresh fruit is preferable to canned. :-)

        4 Replies
        1. re: prima

          http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/hea...

          http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.p...

          http://www.naturalnews.com/015820_blo...

          even if you want to believe that salt is the demon, much of the sodium in americans' diets comes from processed foods and fast foods. these foods also happen to be made with krap grains and krappier industrial oils and lead to all sorts of ill health.

          without sodium we would die. it's a vital mineral that works in conjunction with potassium, magnesium and calcium. forcing any one of these to be artificially low may cause more harm than good.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            While I don't believe salt is the demon, I'm trying to reduce
            my own salt intake(while reducing my saturated fat intake, increase fibre, getting enough folic acid and vitamins, reducing processed foods, etc). While DASH as a blood pressure lowering diet is widely accepted by the Westernized Medicine's medical community, there are always going to be other schools of thought available online.

            Your salt intake may vary.

            Maybe grains are the demon du jour. (Just to be clear, if a no grain diet works for you, good for you. When I question whether grains should be demonized, I'm not downplaying that high blood pressure is serious. I would think taking weight off, regardless of the salt or grain intake, and regardless of amount of exercise, could lower blood pressure for some people.)

            1. re: prima

              i take most medical community recommendations with a grain of salt. ahem. these are the same guys who not long ago advised smoking as a weight loss tool. these are the same guys insisting that we need to take meds for high cholesterol -- which is NOT a disease. it has correlation to certain conditions but zero proof it is causative.

              among the problems with these studies is they try to isolate a single factor, ignoring that the body works as a whole and integrated system.

              low carb, exercise and very moderate intake of alcohol is the ticket.

              1. re: prima

                My bp dropped from severe labile ht on low fat/high carb to temporary orthostatic hypotension when I cut starch and sugar.

                It's that serious an issue.

          2. Low carb drops bp like a rock. Low sodium will often cause it to go up, due to the need for sodium to deliver bp lowering potassium from foods. Those foods tend to be seafood/shellfish and veggies.

            Morton blended lite salt can do a lot of the same.

            4 Replies
            1. re: mcf

              Eating low carb does not seem to have a lowering effect on my bp or my cholesterol. This has been a severe disappointment. I lost some weight, and have been able to keep it off, but I still have to take bp meds.

              I do eat some dietary salt, but I salt everything with a pretty light hand, and I hate over salted food. I can't control the salt in a restaurant, though.

              What I am doing is drinking less caffeinated coffee. I find that now with hot weather here, I want a diet Coke or other soft drink. I have to find one with no caffeine if possible. Or learn to drink water more.

              I think for many of us, there are many factors in managing our health. Low carb is a good plan for me. But it doesn't do everything I need.

              I never tried the DASH diet, but I would not call it BS. There are other less worthy diets available.

              1. re: sueatmo

                I know you believe not lowering cholesterol is a strike, but your body makes what you need for homeostasis. If your triglycerides don't go down on on low carb, then you have troubs. If your HDL is low and stays low, something is wrong.

                If you're higher when you've been resting 15 minutes prior to testing *at home* (mine is sky high in the doc's office, normal or low at home), then you may need to think about other issues.

                Cholesterol targets are great for selling drugs, currently as used, terrible for health.

                1. re: mcf

                  OK, my triglycerides have been reduced. My "good" cholesterol is very high, and overall my blood work has been quite good for the last 2 years. I do credit this to eating much lower carb than ever before in my life. However the bad cholesterol does not budge much, whether I lose weight, eat low carb or exercise.

                  Excercise used to affect by BP, but I am not sure it has this effect. Time will tell. I am really amping physical activity up these days.

                  I believe in an overall strategy of eating lower carb foods, and spacing those foods out over the day. This seems to work for me.

                  1. re: sueatmo

                    Low TGL and high HDL trumps TC and LDL totally. It's why the Harvard risk calculator has me in the low risk category despite high LDL despite diabetes and a high fat diet.