This way of eating can help lower blood pressure.
Studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes who adopted the DASH diet saw improvement in several health parameters in addition to blood pressure, including blood sugar, weight, waist circumference, blood lipids and a reduction in incident cardiovascular disease.
The DASH diet is similar to the recommendations of Canada’s Food Guide.
It recommends a diet high in:
- fruit and vegetables
- skim milk products
It emphasizes the consumption of:
- whole grain products
- legumes and pulses (beans and lentils)
It suggests reduced consumption of:
- red and processed meat
- sweets and sugary beverages
- foods containing trans fats, saturated fats and cholesterol
This type of diet results in a menu high in:
- dietary fibre
Tips for adopting a DASH-style diet
- Increase your consumption of fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables. Get in the habit of munching fruit at breakfast and for snacks. Aim for a “balanced plate”: vegetables should make up about half your lunch and supper plate.
- Several times per week, replace meat-based dishes with meals based on legumes (beans, lentils, etc.), fish or other meat alternatives.
- Choose whole grain products as often as possible: whole-wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, oats, quinoa, etc.
- Opt for low-fat milk and yogurt. Milk is a nutritious drink, a healthy alternative to sugary beverages.
- Eat a variety of unsalted nuts and seeds a few times per week; they go well with yogurt, cereal and salads, and are easy to carry with you for snacks!
- Get in the habit of reading the Nutrition Facts table on food labels to compare and choose the foods lowest in saturated and trans fats.