Cooking Lovers Health & Benefits

How do I include Chiquita bananas in my DASH diet?

Cooking Lovers Health & Benefits

May 4th 2021 ・ 4 min reading

If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), you’ve probably heard of the DASH diet – ‘DASH’ stands for ‘Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension’. This diet, developed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, encourages you to reduce the sodium you consume and eat a range of foods rich in nutrients to help lower your blood pressure. For anyone who’s fond of a tasty, high quality Chiquita banana, the good news is that the DASH diet can be perfectly paired with your favorite fruit. Bananas are one of the ideal DASH foods – below we’ll have a look at why this is so and give you some great ideas for DASH diet recipes.

DASH Diet recipes:

To help get you started on your quest to reduce your levels of sodium and increase your potassium intake, here are some great Chiquita banana DASH diet recipes that will help make the journey enjoyable!

Healthy wholegrain banana bread

Wholegrain banana bread for Dash diet By Chiquita

Wholegrains are an important part of the DASH diet, so this is the perfect banana bread recipe, containing various sorts of wholegrain flour including quinoa, amaranth, and brown rice. Teamed with two cups of banana (between two and four Chiquita bananas, depending on size) for great flavor and moisture, the recipe uses a traditional banana bread method of combining the wet and dry ingredients separately and then mixing them together.

Banana oatmeal pancakes

These pancakes tick all the breakfast boxes, as well as the DASH diet – healthy, filling and amazingly tasty! Heart-healthy oats are teamed with mashed banana, wholewheat flour, cinnamon, skim milk and yogurt for a rich, delicious pancake mix you’ll come back to time and again. It’s easy to make this mix up the night before, as well, for easy cooking the next morning!

Strawberry banana milkshake

This super healthy milkshake substitutes soy milk for the dairy version to give you great taste without the fat for your DASH food needs. Frozen strawberries and a banana are the main ingredients, along with a cup of fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt, blended for a mouth-watering summer treat.

Why are Chiquita bananas so good for the DASH diet?

Luckily, bananas are both delicious and nutritious, containing good levels of important vitamins, minerals and fiber – including potassium. This makes them a perfect companion for the DASH diet. Modern, highly processed diets tend to contain far too much sodium, which is an electrolyte (and one of the chemicals in salt). Consuming too much can raise your blood pressure, particularly if you have high blood pressure already. In fact, the DASH diet was developed after researchers realized that vegans and vegetarians tend to have much lower blood pressure than most other people – and of course, fruit and vegetables are generally low in sodium (and bananas are sodium free!).

Bananas are famous for their good levels of potassium – this is another important electrolyte for the body, but most people just don’t get enough in the modern daily diet. Electrolytes have the important job of conducting electrical impulses through the body, and too much sodium or too little potassium create an imbalance. This is because together they are a dynamic duo, with potassium being pulled into cells and sodium pushed out, like a microscopic pump driving transmission of signals to nerves and muscles. So, when they’re out of balance, this ingenious natural system just doesn’t work properly.

This neatly explains why the DASH diet can do with a helping hand from bananas. Chiquita bananas are an ideal DASH food because of their levels of potassium, which can help to maintain normal blood pressure (as well as maintaining normal muscle function and the workings of the nervous system). Reducing levels of sodium needs to work alongside increasing levels of potassium to make sure that these vital electrolytes come back into their proper balance in the body.

American Heart Association recommends the DASH diet:

You won’t be surprised to hear that the American Heart Association recommends the DASH diet to help get high blood pressure in check. You can find all sorts of information online to get you started on this flexible diet plan, which involves including a number of servings from each food group amongst a wide range of fresh foods.

Before we look at recipes, here are some handy tips while shopping for your DASH diet:

  1. Always make a list of everything you are going to eat during the week, including any snacks, so you don’t get distracted by tempting unhealthy foods as you shop.
  2. Buy fresh foods. Most of the sodium in the modern diet comes from processed foods, as well as sugar and fat.
  3. Stick to the aisles where you can find fruit, veggies, low-fat dairy and lean meats – if you don’t wander into the treat aisles, you’ll be less likely to pick them up!
  4. Always read the labels on packaged foods – in the US and Europe, all food ingredients must be listed by law. Low sodium will be shown as 5% or less daily value per serving. Sometimes, two products that look almost identical can have very different levels of salt.

It’s great to know that when you start out on the DASH diet, you can include bananas as a delicious part of your healthy DASH food repertoire. So, don’t forget to put them on your new DASH grocery list before you go to the store!

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