It’s one of the most effective diet strategies to bring down blood pressure and reduce dangerous inflammation.

And hardly anyone knows about it.

It’s called the DASH diet, not to be confused with the popular seasoning. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension… yawn.

Yet, for the past seven years, the DASH diet got top billing on the US News & World Report list of best diets to promote weight loss and long-term health.

And, as opposed to many of the diet plans coming your way in 2018, DASH is supported by some of the best research out there.

DASH does more than just lower blood pressure. It’s been shown to lower the risk for kidney disease, improve heart function, and even lower our risk for certain types of cancer.

Believe it or not, the main focus of this diet plan is not to cut out salt. DASH lowers blood pressure due to its unique mixture of nutrients such as protein, fibre, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Experts have found that when these substances team up, they work synergistically to normalise blood pressure and fight off health-robbing inflammation. Published results have been nothing short of amazing.

If we don’t yet appreciate how important it is to keep our blood pressure normal, here are a few scary facts from dietitian Dr Denise Webb.

High blood pressure, says Dr Webb, can cause bulging or ruptured arteries, weakened and enlarged hearts, stroke, dementia, kidney failure, damaged blood vessels in the eye and sexual dysfunction in men.

Ready to pay attention now?

Perhaps we might want to adopt one or more of these DASH-related resolutions to keep us dancing throughout the New Year:

• Buy a measuring cup and fill it two to three times a day with vegetables. Then eat those vegetables.

• Designate at least four snacks or meals a week to eat nuts, seeds, beans or lentils.

• Buy bread, cereal, crackers and other grains made with whole grains.

• Consume at least two servings of low fat milk, cheese or yoghurt each day. Lactose-reduced products and buttermilk work too.

• For an afternoon or evening lift, replace sugary sweet snacks with fresh, frozen, canned (without added sugar) or dried fruit.

• Eat three to six ounces (170g) of fish, poultry, lean meat or meat substitutes each day.

• Instead of drowning food with butter, mayonnaise or salad dressing, realise that a little dab will do fine.

• Drink no more than one or two alcoholic drinks a day or don’t drink at all.

Find the complete DASH eating plan here. – The Monterey County Herald/Tribune News Service