Congratulations on downloading DASH Diet: Proven Tips to Treat High Blood Pressure, Lower Sodium Intake and Eat Nutrient Rich Food. We live in a society facing an epidemic of unheard of proportions. According to the CDC, more than one-third of adults are considered obese. Even more alarming, 17.2% of children are considered overweight. Heart disease is usually the result of high blood pressure, high sodium diets, and obesity. It’s the number one killer of adults in the United States. On average, 610,000 deaths can be directly contributed to heart disease every year. Some experts suggest by the year 2030 it will cost Americans $818 BILLION to say nothing of lost productivity time and dollars.
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What if it were all preventable? What if there was a simple method for preventing heart disease and obesity altogether? A way to lower blood pressure and reduce sodium intake; the two main underlying causes of heart disease. Enter the DASH diet comes in. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) recommends eating a varied, unprocessed diet of low-fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables. Fish, poultry, nuts and whole grains are encouraged in moderation. We all know diet is a four-letter word. DASH is a lifestyle change, introduced gradually over time and incorporating whole health foods while avoiding processed ones that traditionally contains large amounts of sodium and fat.
We are about to set out on a journey to explore DASH in detail and making it part of our everyday lifestyle without feeling deprived. Throughout this book, you’ll find tips and techniques to help you and your family get healthy and stay healthy. Welcome to the world of DASH! There are plenty of books on this subject on the market, thanks again for choosing this one! Every effort was made to ensure it is full of as much useful information as possible; please enjoy!
The New Epidemic
Epidemics have been part of our society since early recorded history. From the Black Death to modern day HIV/AIDS, humans have faced insurmountable odds in the face of these killer plagues; with untold millions of lives lost. The newest epidemic to take its place among the ranks is heart disease. Unlike most diseases such as Tuberculosis which originates from an airborne bacteria, heart disease is, for the most part, a completely preventable disease. Let’s explore the relationship between today’s high sodium diets, high blood pressure and the effect it has on our body.
Salt: A Delicate Balance
We need salt (sodium) to survive. Without it our heart wouldn’t beat, we would be dehydrated, and death would be inevitable. But what happens if we get too much salt in our bodies? Too much can be deadlier than not enough, and large amounts can wreak havoc on most of our bodily systems. Salt was considered to everywhere. Fast food is loaded with it, those convenience foods we buy in the supermarket to make “home cooked meals faster” are preserved with it and yes, even those snack cakes we all love so much contain salt in huge proportions. In Chapter 4 we’ll learn to properly read food labels and figure out just how much sodium is in packaged foods.
Our kidneys are the filtration system of our bodies. For those of us old enough to remember, aquariums used to come with carbon filters. The aquarium water was pumped through the charcoal and cotton balls which filtered out the impurities in the water and kept the fish alive. There was a balance maintained by the pump. If the water didn’t get filtered, the fish died. Our kidneys do the same thing. Our blood is filtered through the kidneys to remove toxins and excess fluid. A chemical reaction which utilizes sodium and potassium in balance allows the fluid to be removed. If the sodium is too high, the water is held in the cells, and the fluid balance is unequal. The excess fluid increases your blood pressure which puts added stress on the array of blood vessels feeding the kidneys. Over time, the vessels begin to fail, and the result is kidney disease. If not treated by lowering the blood pressure, kidney failure can result. At that point either a transplant or dialysis is the only means of sustaining life. Without the filters working properly, we die just like the fish.
Our circulatory system is the pipeline of our bodies. It moves oxygen-rich blood from the heart through the arteries while the veins return the depleted blood back to the heart. Like a water hose, the arteries are under constant pressure. This pressure, once measured, is our blood pressure. Though everyone’s baseline blood pressure is a little different due to genetics, generally it should be around 120/80. Pre-hypertension, which is early high blood pressure, is between 120/80 to 139/89.
Blood pressure readings of 140/90 are too high and can cause significant damage to delicate artery walls. Consuming a diet high in sodium and fat increases the pressure exerted on the vessels and a stroke or heart attack can occur, if the vessel wall ruptures. Diets high in fat also clog the arteries and prevent blood flow. Our modern lifestyles have greatly contributed to the increased death rate attributed to high blood pressure. We are a society of convenience; work schedules no longer allow for meals to be cooked from scratch using fresh ingredients. Instead, the driver through is most often the source of meals. Most fast food places have made the nutritional information readily available to consumers. McDonald’s is an easy source of dinner or lunch in a hurry. The popular Quarter Pounder with Cheese has 26 grams of fat and 1100 mg of sodium; the recommended daily allowance for 2000 calorie a day diet is less than 65 gm of total fat and less than 2400 mg of sodium We’ll learn more about the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowances).
The Body as a Whole:
Our bodies are like cars; what we fuel them with keeps the machine running for a lifetime. Not eating right will shorten our lives and prevent us from performing at optimum efficiency. Our bones become weak as we develop osteoporosis. We may lose limbs and go blind due to diabetes. Dementia may develop due to reduced blood flow to the brain. We may become dependent on the family due to a stroke or heart attack. Or perhaps placed in a facility for skilled care. How we fuel our bodies and maintain them are paramount in maintaining the quality of life.
Effects of Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet on
Table 2 from Adherence to the Dietary Approaches to Stop
Figure. Design of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension – Humber Community Seniors