On the surface, blood pressure is easy to understand: It’s a measure of how easily blood flows through your body. What could be simpler?
In truth, many things are simpler. Blood pressure—and more specifically, high blood pressure—can be a confusing, sometimes complex subject.
For example, take the seemingly simple task of measuring blood pressure. Not only is there more than one measurement (the well-known “top number” and “bottom number”), but they change all the time, based on activity, time of day, and state of mind. More challenging is that there are so many things that can affect blood pressure, in both good ways and bad. Add to that the many different effects high blood pressure can have on your body and the fact that the condition itself has almost no symptoms but a potentially deadly outcome, and you start to understand that blood pressure is worthy of learning a little more about.
Here’s a good question to start with: What is perhaps the most important lifestyle factor that influences your blood pressure?
The answer, of course, is food. Doctors and scientists have long known that food has an enormous influence on the health of your circulatory system. DASH—which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension—is a set of eating guidelines established in 1997 and based on an extensive study of how wholesome food choices can best reduce blood pressure. It remains a “gold standard” program for eating for healthy blood pressure. But we weren’t satisfied with that, so we have added even more simple, natural ways to battle blood pressure to DASH to create what we believe is the best plan of attack possible for this escalating health problem. We call it the DASH-Plus Plan, and you’ll learn all about it in the pages ahead.
But to start, let’s explore the truths and myths of high blood pressure. Once you’re armed with this knowledge, applying the DASH-Plus Plan becomes even easier.