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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Diet Plan for a Patient with High Blood Pressure

It has been a common observation that patients who develop hypertension (or blood pressure in a layman's language) also suffer from general ill health, sometimes due to complications of hypertension and sometimes due to faulty dietary practices. Particularly in Indian context, in is not uncommon to see thinly built patients with low BMI but still having bad lipid profile. The question commonly asked is how to manage diet to prevent or treat hypertension while maintaining good health. Here is your answer to how. The DASH diet (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) may prove such patients of immense benefit. It calls for a certain number of servings daily from various food groups. The number of servings you require may vary, depending on your caloric need. When beginning the diet, start slowly and make gradual changes. Consider adopting a diet plan that allows 2,400 milligrams of salt per day (about 1 teaspoon) and then once your body has adjusted to the diet further lower your salt intake to 1,500 mg per day (about 2/3 teaspoon). These amounts include all salt consumed, including that in food products, used in cooking, and added at the table.
Here are some tips to get you started on the DASH diet: 

Add a serving of vegetables at lunch and at dinner.  
Add a serving of fruit to your meals or as a snack. Canned and dried fruits are easy to use. Use only half the butter, margarine, or salad dressing, and use low-fat or fat-free condiments. Drink low-fat or skim dairy products three times a day. Limit meat to six ounces a day. Try eating some vegetarian meals. 
Add more vegetables, rice, pasta, and dry beans to your diet. 
Instead of typical snacks (chips, etc.), eat unsalted pretzels or nuts, raisins, graham crackers, low-fat and fat-free yogurt and frozen yogurt; unsalted plain popcorn with no butter, and raw vegetables. 
Read food labels carefully to choose products that are lower in sodium.

Staying on the DASH Diet

The following is a list of food groups and suggested serving amounts for the DASH diet: 
Grains: 7-8 daily servings  
Vegetables: 4-5 daily servings  
Fruits: 4-5 daily servings  
Low-fat or fat-free dairy products: 2-3 daily servings  
Meat, poultry and fish: 2 or less daily servings  
Nuts, seeds, and dry beans: 4-5 servings per week  
Fats and oils: 2-3 daily servings  
Sweets: try to limit to less than 5 servings per week

How Much Is a Serving?

When you're trying to follow a healthy eating plan, it may help to know how much of a certain kind of food is considered a "serving." The following table offers some examples.
1/2 cup cooked rice
 1 slice bread
1/2 cup cooked vegetables or fruits
8oz. of milk
 1 teaspoon oil
3 ounces cooked meat

Indian cuisine and DASH

  • Look for items with small portions of roasted lean meat, poultry or fish.
  • Choose dishes that include cauliflower, eggplant, potatoes, leafy greens, peas and lentils.
  • Look for whole grain bulgur or brown basmati rice.
  • Limit items heavy in coconut milk or cream curry sauce.
Good Choices
Dal Rasam soup with lentils
Mulligatawny soup  
Papadum or chapatti flat breads
Aloo Chole -chick peas cooked with tomatoes and potatoes
Chicken or fish
Raita- yogurt with cucumber, onion and spices
Saag- a dish made of spinach, mustard greens and other leafy greens
Biryani- rice dish with chicken, shrimp, vegetables and dried fruit

Click here for further details on DASH


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