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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

  • 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!

    http://www.spar
    kpeople.com/m
    yspark/groups
    _individual.asp - 10/27/2013 1:04:05 AM
  • BLKLILY
    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
  • JGMARIE80
    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
  • My husband started with high blood pressure. I think is hereditary. His grandfather and an aunt died of high blood pressure. His mother have high blood pressure, too. I'm very sad because I have ALS and he help me a lot. We are veterans. - 9/21/2012 3:48:57 PM
  • so, basically eat the way you should eat? LOL - 9/21/2012 2:44:41 PM
  • I am 34 years and suffer from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, I don't eat vegetables no matter how much i try is there another approach i can tale to solve the problem, cause by reading this article it sounds interesting but there are lots of food i cant eat - 8/16/2012 10:21:26 AM
  • DEIDRE143
    I was taken to the er this past weekend with a major head ach and bloodshot swolen eyes and found out my blood pressure was 186 over 118... I am 36 years 5 ft and 182 lbs...did not even think my headachs could be comming from blood pressure...I was put on meds and told about the dash diet.... I had already started to diet and had lost 4 lbs in 2 weeks but this has made me take it more seriouse then the fact I dont want to be fat.. my weight actually IS affecting my health...my LIFE..Gotta Keep It Up!! :) - 7/27/2012 3:52:06 PM

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