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High Blood Pressure? Have a DASH of Spark

There's More to it than Your Sodium Intake

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For years, battling high blood pressure meant throwing out the salt shaker and throwing on the sweatpants. We now know that there’s more to the picture.

Exercise and maintaining a healthy weight have always been powerful tools for managing high blood pressure. But recent studies are showing that a number of food choices – not just salt – play a large role in your blood pressure levels. In fact, following a particular eating plan called the "DASH" diet, along with decreasing your sodium intake, can lower your blood pressure.

So if you’re specifically targeting high blood pressure, you can easily follow DASH diet principles and use them right along with your SparkDiet plan. You can even use the same tracking and planning tools. Simply keep these principles and strategies in mind when planning your meals and groceries.

What is the DASH diet?
Whether you are trying to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure or want to bring an existing condition under control, the DASH principles and SparkDiet plan can work together to help. Designed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) plan can help protect against osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease. The healthy rewards are great with the SparkDiet and DASH combination.
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • I am extremely lactose intolerant. What can I use in place of the dairy servings? I've discovered the coconut milk yogurts, but it's not technically a dairy. I also drink almond milk. Do these satisfy my calcium intake? - 6/9/2016 1:38:29 AM
  • My DS has been diagnosed with High Blood Pressure. This will make an excellent plan for all of us to follow! Great article.

    Thanks SparkPeople!! - 4/4/2016 7:14:03 PM
    "DASH"a really wonderful article on DASH diet. Thanks. Hope this will help you and your other readers.
    - 7/30/2015 7:23:36 AM
  • MOONSTAR6036
    I really liked this article and seems like very smart choices on food i already love. I am going to give this a try. - 11/19/2014 12:10:24 PM
  • Reading this now and thinking I would like to give this plan a try...sounds like it might help with my life style & help me lose a few lbs.
    Thanks for posting it... - 8/18/2014 6:57:44 AM
  • I would prefer to see vegetarian protein sources stand out more instead of including with nuts & seeds and dried beans detail. They should at least be given equal billing with meat based protein sources. - 12/14/2013 4:13:07 PM
  • Please come join our DASH SparkTeam!

    _individual.asp - 10/27/2013 1:04:05 AM
  • It would have been nice to see what a typical day's meal(breakfast, lunch, dinner & snack) could look like using the foods listed above; otherwise great article. - 8/27/2013 5:42:33 PM
  • Good article. I have been reading up on the Dash diet and was starting to plan and track using their guidelines, but this month have been exploring the Sparkpeople site and trackers. I think both plans have similar concepts, since they are based on well rounded nutrition and finding the right balance of nutrients (as opposed to focusing on carbs or fat or protein).

    I find planning and tracking meals can be quite time consuming. Does it get easier? Is it best to concentrate on the DASH diet, SparkPeople or to use both?

    I guess the easiest way would be to just follow a meal plan from one or the other, but I like to change things around from their menus. Many great sounding meals on these plans though!

    Mal - 8/11/2013 7:53:03 PM
  • I have read several books on the DASH diet...I have even followed it for a couple of days and found that even my blood sugars stabilized. My doctor was very happy about that. I would recommend this to all who suffer from high BP and diabetes. - 6/1/2013 7:34:06 PM
    Thanks for this article. How do I save this? I usually e- mail articles to my son's e- mail so I can print the article and read it over again but there's not even an option to do that. - 3/24/2013 10:55:33 PM
  • This is a great article! Thanks for all the pointers for lowering hypertension,
    I would never have known some of these things without this information.
    Thanks Becky for posting this! - 2/5/2013 4:54:05 PM
  • Wow! Such a great and informative article! Just what I was looking for. Sparkpeople you never disappoint! - 9/29/2012 7:07:06 PM
  • MINNIEKS6101
    Great article! Thank you for this information! Several people I can pass it along too! - 9/21/2012 9:10:55 PM
  • Great article and I too would have liked more info on the reason minerals affect high blood pressure.

    FFLYER Thank you thank you thank you. I've actually been hurt so much with the blood pressure cuff I'm made them take it off. I had no idea it was my Grandma Batwings causing the problem. - 9/21/2012 4:11:52 PM

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