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The DASH Plan

The DASH Plan: Your Pathway to A Heart-Healthy Diet

Are you looking for a nutritional plan that can help you lower your blood pressure and reduce your sodium intake, but still offers tasty food options?  Consider trying the DASH plan.

DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a heart-healthy approach to eating. It doesn’t require any special food, is easy to follow and has many benefits. The plan focuses on foods that can naturally help lower your blood pressure, and it includes foods that are low in:

  • Saturated fat
  • Sodium
  • Sugar
  • Cholesterol

Do you know the difference between sodium and salt?  Sodium is a mineral found in many processed and pre-packaged foods. Salt is what we add to our food. Most table salts are made from sodium chloride. Your body needs sodium for normal muscle and nerve function, but too much of it can raise your blood pressure.

The DASH plan includes plenty of tasty food options to help reduce your sodium intake and as a result, help lower your blood pressure such as:

  • Fruits and veggies
  • Beans, seeds and nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Fish, poultry and other lean protein, and more

Here are some quick, easy changes you can make now to boost your diet and help you feel your best. Even small changes can make a big impact on your health:

  • Add a serving of veggies or fruit at lunch and dinner. For example, try adding veggie toppings to a ready-made pizza.
  • Treat meat as one part of the meal, instead of the focus. Try having two or more meatless meals a week.
  • Drink fat-free milk. A glass has only 80 calories and no fat. It’s packed with nutrients that can help lower blood pressure.
  • Choose whole-grain foods, including whole-grain cereals.
  • Add garbanzo beans (chickpeas) to a salad or make split pea or black bean soup.
  • Take fruit to work or school as a snack.
  • Use half the butter or margarine you do now.

You can learn more about the DASH eating plan from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. 

To access the full article on the DASH plan, click here.

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