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Jan 10, 2012

DASH-ing My Way To Health By Shaking Out Salt

I am on the prowl once again for what workable diet I could start on.  I really don't have to lose weight anymore as my body mass index is in the healthy range, although I have to work on my waste to hip ratio.  I've been searching for a diet to lower my blood pressure, even without medications.  I'm looking at 28 days from now when I will halt taking Losartan and see if my blood pressure rises again.  So far now, it is steady at or below 120/80 mmg Hg. 

I visited my Info Links Page and clicked on the NHLBI link...clicking some more within the site I was brought to this page : Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure with Dash.  There's an option there to download the PDF file.  That is what I have been reading up on since this morning.  I have started taking note of the food I had today and will continue to do so in the following days or months until I no longer need to keep track because it has become a habit to be selective of the food I eat.

What I initially like about the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is that it doesn't tell you to go zero on certain food groups.  In fact, one can eat almost anything (except junk foods of course), provided the recommended serving sizes are observed.  I suppose I was in the right track when I started having more vegetables and fruits in my daily diet a couple of months before.  What I see as a real challenge here is lowering my sodium intake. 

Salt and Pepper Shakers by jking89

Salt and Pepper Shakers, a photo by jking89 on Flickr.

Filipinos in general love to splurge on salt, fish sauce, shrimp paste, and soy sauce.  Just this morning, I had steamed camote (sweet potato) tops (the leaves).  It would have been a perfect one already because it's rich in a lot of nutrients.  The problem is, the one serving it drizzled too much of bagoong alamang.  I couldn't possibly squeeze out all of those nasty bagoong out of the leaves, but next time, I'll remember to tell the food server to skip it altogether.

I also remember the doctor telling me months ago to go easy on salty foods.  But the stubborn me didn't take it that seriously, except to avoid dining out, not so much as to avoid salt but more on skimping on high-cholesterol foods.  And seriously, I didn't take it at face value even if I read in the DASH diet that one can benefit more if sodium is limited.  I had to know why.  How does sodium interact with our body?  I got a simple answer from this article: Salt and High Blood Pressure.  I realized that the DASH diet is even more forgiving because it set the limit to only as low as 1,500 mg/day.  The body needs only a third of that for normal function. 

Alright, so starting today, I am monitoring my food intake, particularly the sodium content.  It's going to take more willpower to shake the salt habit but I have to do it for my health.  I suppose my taste buds could still adjust.

1 comment:

  1. This is an informative post. Im not hypertensive, but I could really use this. My dad, unt, and granny are all hypertensive. I now understand why we had to cut down the sodium.