We all know that making changes to our diet can go a long way when it comes to losing weight, feeling healthier, and living longer, but did you know that simple diet changes could prevent the need for blood pressure and cholesterol medications?
Heart disease is still one of the biggest killers of adult men and women, and this is something that can be prevented. Making healthy choices, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and not smoking all help. Eating the right foods can also go a long way.
Here is a look at two specific diets that are worth considering to help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
The DASH diet
The DASH diet, which is short for “Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension”, is a diet that was designed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in the United States. This diet has been shown to be effective in helping people lose weight and lower high blood pressure through its focus on seafood, lean meats, lots of fibre, beans and nuts, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy. It is interesting to note that it also focuses on foods that are rich in potassium.
The DASH diet is similar to the Nordic and Mediterranean diets. Although both of those regional diets have also been shown to be particularly beneficial to those with high blood pressure, the DASH diet has a lower fat content.
The Portfolio diet
You may not have heard of the Portfolio diet, but it has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. Developed by researchers in Toronto, the diet is mostly vegetarian. It incorporates foods such as almonds, soy, and other nuts as well as lots of vegetables. All of the foods in this diet are known to lower cholesterol, such as okra, aubergine, beans, and oatmeal.
Studies have shown that the Portfolio diet can reduce a person’s cholesterol by about 30 per cent, which is just about as effective as the leading cholesterol-lowering medications and statins.
What is the bottom line? While it is not advisable to simply stop taking blood pressure or cholesterol medications if your doctor has prescribed them for you, you should definitely be discussing how you could affect these health factors by simply modifying your diet. There is a good chance that you could reduce the amount of medication you need or stop taking it altogether just by making smarter food choices.