NHLBI Offers Updated Guide with Practical Advice for Lowering High Blood Pressure Through Diet
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health has developed an updated publication called "Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure with DASH."
Schmalfeldt: If you're one of the 65-million Americans with high blood pressure, there's no shortage of advice from well-meaning people with opinions on how to take care of yourself. "Watch your diet!" "Cut back on salt!" "Get more exercise." And that's all well and good, but for most folks it's much easier said than done. Where can one go to get practical information on how to follow such good advice? The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health is coming to the rescue with an updated publication called "Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure with DASH." Now, DASH isn't a food ingredient. It's the name of a program called "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension," and it follows heart-healthy guidelines to limit salt or sodium, saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, and focuses on increasing intake of fruits, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat milk products. The DASH diet is also rich in whole grain products, fish, poultry and nuts. According to NHLBI Director Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, studies have shown that the DASH eating plan can significantly lower high blood pressure, even within the first few weeks. This new guide offers practical information on how to get started and then follow the plan, according to Dr. Eva Obarzanek, a research nutritionist at the NHLBI.
Obarzanek: There are sample diets so you can write down what you eat on a day-to-day basis and then you can compare to what is ideal to follow the DASH dietary pattern. You also have a place to write down how much physical activity you do because you do want to have at least thirty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, preferably all days of the week. And there's information on how to get started. You try to start gradually and set small goals and each week you try to increase your goals. And then you should reward yourself; not with food, but with other fun things that you like as you achieve each of your goals for eating according to the DASH dietary pattern or increasing your physical activity.
Schmalfeldt: This new guide updates previous publications of the DASH eating plan with a new look, and is consistent with the 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To learn more, log on to www.nhlbi.nih.gov and search for the key word "DASH". From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Bill Schmalfeldt
Sound Bite: Dr. Eva Obarzanek
Topic: High Blood Pressure