Those of us with hypertension know there is a direct relationship to being overweight and our high blood pressure readings. We know we should shed our excess weight. There are many diet plans and systems to choose between ranging from long-established plans to the latest celebrity approved meal plan. Which of them is the best overall for losing those extra pounds and lower those vital readings?

Experts for US News and World Report carry out an annual review of diet plans and list the top 10. What is surprising is that for the last four years, the best overall diet for weight loss was not even designed for that purpose. The winning diet for four years in a row is the DASH diet.

What is the DASH Diet?

DASH is an acronym for D ietary A pproaches to S top H ypertension.

This diet, developed by the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, is designed to reduce hypertension. It is the medical community's most accepted definition of a heart-healthy diet because it compresses nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber that help reduce hypertension.

The DASH diet advocates:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables;
  • whole grains;
  • lean protein; and is
  • low in fat and sodium.

High fat, sugar and salt foods are off-limits, as is alcohol, but it is otherwise considered very easy to follow, and, so is good for long-term followers such as those of us who wish to reduce our hypertension naturally. Or, at the very least, want to make our prescription medication more effective so that we can take less of it to achieve the same result.

Benefits of the DASH diet

There are double benefits to following the DASH diet.

  1. Followers of the DASH Diet have a successful record of reducing their hypertension. After all, that is what the plan was designed to do. And that alone is good reason to follow its dietary guidelines.
  2. It has consistently topped the list as best overall weight loss plan. If you are overweight and have high blood pressure, losing weight is the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your hypertension naturally.

We can expect to see a reduction in our systolic pressure in the range of 5 to 20 points for every 20lbs of extra weight that we lose. Even losing as little as 10 lbs if you're overweight can help reduce or even prevent high blood pressure.

There is a bonus for diabetics who also have hypertension, as many do. The DASH diet was found to be not only the best plan for healthy eating, it was joint best for those with diabetes.

If you are serious about lowering your high blood pressure, the single most beneficial thing you can do is to lose weight. The best overall diet for doing that is the DASH diet, which was designed to lower reduce hypertension naturally.