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According to the American Heart Association, around 103 million men and women in the U.S. have high blood pressure. Some of this increase is due to the change in hypertension guidelines.

In a 10-year span, there was a 38 percent increase in deaths related to high blood pressure. Of those who are at least 40 years old, about 56 million also meet the requirements for needing medications to help lower cholesterol levels.

For people with high blood pressure, doctors often recommend two things. One is to get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity daily for at least five days each week. The second thing is to follow the DASH diet. Do you know what this diet is?

What You Need to Know About the DASH Diet

DASH Stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, and low-fat or nonfat dairy items. Most people eat anywhere from 1,600 to 3,100 calories per day depending on activity levels. Men and women over the age of 51 are recommended to be in the lower end of this calorie scale.

The DASH Diet limits sodium intake and avoids sugars and saturated fat. Studies were performed in adults with blood pressures ranging from 120 to 159 (systolic) over 80 to 95 (diastolic). After a full two weeks on this diet and an entire month of lowering sodium intake, most participants found their blood pressure readings dropped by an average of 7.3 points for systolic blood pressure and 3.6 points for diastolic.

Dietary Guidelines for DASH Diet Meals and Snacks

Based on a 2,000-calorie diet plan, the goal of the DASH diet is to create meals and snacks that are high in calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium, and protein. You should meet these requirements each day.

  • 6 to 8 servings of whole grains (Barley, farro, and quinoa are examples.)
  • 6 servings of lean proteins (Especially fish and seafood)
  • 4 to 5 servings of vegetables4 to 5 servings of fruit
  • 2 to 3 servings of low-fat or nonfat dairy
  • 2 to 3 servings of healthy fats and oils while avoiding saturated and trans fats (Avocado, olive, and sunflower oil are good options.)
  • No more than 2,300 mg of sodium with 1,500 mg being the goal

On a weekly basis, desserts and sweets need to be limited to no more than 5 servings. Nuts and beans need to be limited to 4 or 5 servings a week.

Management of high blood pressure requires diet and exercise. It may also require your mom or dad to take medications every day. If they can't remember on their own, they'll need reminders. Talk to a senior care agency about caregivers. They can cook meals, drive your parents to appointments, and remind them when it's time to take a walk or take daily medications. Call a senior care agency to learn more.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering Senior Care in Cayce, SC, please talk to our caring staff. Call today (803) 223-6173.