To get started on the DASH eating plan, make the following changes over a few days or weeks. This will give you a chance to adjust to the changes and make them part of your daily routine:
For more information and tips on how to adopt the DASH eating plan, including a week of DASH menus, go to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's "Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure With DASH."
The DASH eating plan might have more servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods than you’re used to eating. Slowly increase your servings of these foods over several weeks.
If you have trouble digesting dairy products, try taking lactase enzyme pills with these foods. These pills are available at drug stores and grocery stores. You also can buy lactose-free or lactose-reduced milk at the grocery store.
If you don't like nuts or are allergic to them, use seeds or legumes (cooked dried beans or peas) as part of your eating plan.
If you take medicines to control your high blood pressure, keep taking them. However, you should tell your doctor that you're now following the DASH eating plan.
You may stray from the DASH eating plan or your other lifestyle changes. If so, don't let it keep you from reaching your health goals. Get back on track. Below are some ideas that may help you:
Have questions about sodium? Join The Heart Truth®, the American Heart Association, and Million Hearts™ for a Twitter chat on January 25 at 1 p.m. ET. Get tips on how to manage sodium intake through lifestyle changes and learn why sodium is important to staying heart-healthy. Follow The Heart Truth on Twitter and look for #SodiumChat to join the chat.
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