The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, can be used for patients with high blood pressure and is often recommended for diabetics because of the potential to lower their blood pressure. The diet has been shown to reduce blood pressure in as little as two weeks. Diabetics usually have blood pressure issues and are more prone to complications such as kidney disease. Diabetics are usually put on a blood pressure lowering drug called an ACE inhibitor that has protective properties for the kidneys.
The DASH diet consists of lowering sodium intake to less than 2400 mg per day, eating fresh fruits and vegetables and carbohydrate sources coming from whole grains. It also includes proteins coming from lean meats, fish and chicken, and moderate amounts of fats such as olive oil and nuts. The DASH diet has been endorsed by the American Heart Association, The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and the Mayo Clinic. It also was used to form the new dietary guidelines.
Counting carbs is very important to control blood sugar and people should aim for less than 130 grams per day. Thirty percent of all calories should come from fat. Protein should compromise of 10-35 percent of your total calorie consumption. Diabetics should go easy on sweets, alcohol and fatty foods. While sugars and starches raise blood sugar quickly, fats and protein raise it more slowly. Having a good balance will help to avoid hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.
Diabetics don’t have an exact diet plan per se, but they do have some pretty specific guidelines. The Mayo Clinic recently released their Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet with many similarities like a focus on a low-sugar, low-fat diet and changing unhealthy habits.
I think the DASH Diet is a great option for anyone who is looking to eat healthier. I don’t see any reason why anyone, not exclusive to diabetics, couldn’t adopt this meal plan. The Dash Diet Action Plan is a book currently available that provides a 28-day meal guide. You may even lose weight or lose your blood pressure in the process!
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