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DASH for your heart health

November 16, 2021 at 7:16 a.m.

DASH is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The eating plan is based on a series of four studies funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Researchers found that the DASH eating plan can lower blood pressure and reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol, which is responsible for clogging arteries.

With sound science backing it up and no fasting or severe dietary restrictions required, DASH is an appealing way to eat healthier, especially if you have high blood pressure.

Do the DASH

DASH promotes a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts and vegetable oils, while avoiding fatty meats, full-fat dairy products and tropical oils.

In addition, limiting the amount of sodium, sugar, and saturated and trans fats in your diet are important components of DASH.

A typical 2,000-calorie culinary day in the life of a DASH-er would include:

• Four to five servings of vegetables

• Four to five servings of fruit

• Six to eight servings of grains

• Six or fewer servings of meat, poultry or fish

• Two to three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products

• Two to three servings of fats and oils

The DASH eating plan also recommends four to five weekly servings of nuts, seeds, dry beans or peas, and no more than five sweet treats every week.

How to DASH

An important component of the DASH eating plan requires lowering your daily sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day or less. People with high blood pressure should limit this amount to 1,500 milligrams daily.

Two ways to lower sodium intake are to eat out less frequently and avoid cured, smoked and salted meats. Red meat should be eaten in moderation, with fish, chicken, nuts, seeds and legumes serving as your main protein sources.

Looking for reduced or sodium-free products when grocery shopping is another good way to cut back on sodium.

Even if you don't have high blood pressure, combining the DASH eating plan with regular physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and overall fitness.

Concerned about your heart health? Quality cardiovascular care is right around the corner at Northwest Cardiology - Siloam Springs. To schedule an appointment, call 479-215-3060.

Turkey Meatloaf

Just because you're consuming less sodium and red meat doesn't mean you have to give up on home-style food that sticks to your ribs.


1 pound lean ground turkey

1/2 cup dry regular oats

1 large whole egg

1 Tbsp. dehydrated onion flakes

1/4 tsp. no-salt-added ketchup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Place mixture in a loaf pan and bake in oven for 25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf is 165 degrees. Use a knife to cut the loaf into five slices. Serve and enjoy.

Nutritional Information: Makes 5 servings; serving size: 1 slice; calories: 191; total fat: 7g; saturated fat: 2g; cholesterol: 103mg; sodium: 81mg; protein: 23g; carbohydrates: 9g; calcium: 24mg; potassium: 268mg; fiber: 1g; Recipe inspired by What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.

About Siloam Springs Regional Hospital

Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is a 73 licensed bed facility with 42 private patient rooms. With more than 50 physicians on the medical staff, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital provides compassionate, customer-focused care. SSRH is an affiliate of Northwest Health, the largest health system in Northwest Arkansas. Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is located at 603 N. Progress Ave. in Siloam Springs. For more information, visit NorthwestHealth.com.


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