DOH Ilocos promotes DASH diet for hypertension prevention, management

By Hilda Austria

May 15, 2024, 11:00 pm

MALASIQUI, Pangasinan – The Department of Health-Center for Health Development in the Ilocos Region (DOH-CHD-1) is promoting the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet that advocates eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains for prevention and management of hypertension.

In a statement on Wednesday, DOH-CHD-1 Director Paula Paz M. Sydiongco said the DASH Diet is a proactive approach to prevent and manage hypertension through mindful food choices.

“It recommends and encourages eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils, and limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils. It also limits the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and juices,” she said.

She said DASH Diet provides weekly nutritional goals without requiring special food preparation and recommends eating foods rich in potassium, magnesium, fiber and antioxidants.

DOH-CHD-1 medical officer Dr. Rheuel Bobis, in a phone interview, said DASH diet is recommended in the Clinical Practice Guideline for Hypertension.

“DASH meal plan, which is low in sodium and high in dietary potassium, can be recommended for all patients with hypertension without renal insufficiency. The DASH diet plan is rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, fish, whole grains, fiber, potassium, and other minerals at recommended levels and low in red and processed meat, sugar sweetened foods and drinks, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium,” the guidelines said.

Bobis said it is important to consult a dietician before starting on the DASH diet plan to ensure an individual’s safety.

Ilocos Sur Medical Center chief Angel Trinidad, in a statement, said cardiovascular diseases are increasing and are now affecting children as young as 12 years old, and one of its risk factors is hypertension.

“It is a silent killer because most people with hypertension do not even know they have it until they are diagnosed. It is important to focus on the preparation of healthy foods, especially at home, and limit the intake of processed foods and unhealthy foods such as fast foods,” she said.

Aside from the DASH diet, the Clinical Practice Guideline for Hypertension also stated that lifestyle modification remains the cornerstone in the management of hypertension.

“Healthy lifestyle choices are the first line of antihypertensive treatment and of course are synergistic to the effects of antihypertensive medications,” it stated.

Aerobic physical activity and resistance exercises, abstinence from alcohol or moderate alcohol intake, significant weight loss, and smoking cessation are also recommended.

As of 2023, 23,950 individuals in La Union has hypertension, 18,896 in Ilocos Norte, 40,755 in Ilocos Sur, and 40,033 in Pangasinan. (PNA)