4 Major Heart-Healthy Nutrients in Dairy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. And nearly one in three Americans has high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. This doesn’t have to be your destiny, you can help prevent heart disease

If your blood pressure is on the rise, you may be surprised by what your doctor advocates ... not a pill, but a diet. One that incorporates many of your favorite foods and is flexible enough to fit into your lifestyle.  

Developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) plan is a lifelong approach to healthy eating. Studies have shown that DASH lowers blood pressure and decreases the amount of unhealthy fats in the bloodstream, helping many people reduce their risk for developing heart disease.

DASH also has benefits beyond heart health. As a healthy eating plan, DASH is consistent with dietary recommendations to prevent osteoporosis, cancer, stroke and diabetes. And while DASH is not a weight-loss program, you may find yourself shedding unwanted pounds as DASH guides you toward healthier meals and snacks. Named the Best Diet Overall by U.S. News & World Reports for eight years straight from 2011-2019, it now falls just behind the Mediterranean Diet. Both diets feature heart healthy benefits and are recognized as healthy eating patterns in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

So how is it done?

Focus on:

  • Reducing unhealthy foods high in sodium and saturated fat
  • Selecting foods that are high in calcium, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and protein

Dairy is a DASH superstar because it contains four of those! In fact, milk is the number one food source of calcium, vitamin D and potassium in the United States. It’s also packed with high-quality protein.

A single glass of milk has all this:

  • Calcium = 25% daily value
  • Potassium = 10% daily value
  • Protein = 16% daily value
  • Magnesium = 6% daily value

Beyond healthy eating, your doctor will probably recommend getting some regular, daily exercise. This will help strengthen your heart and help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight. Visit the American Heart Association to Get Moving!

To put it all in practice, learn more about dairy and how the DASH plan can help you and your family get heart healthy.

By Katie McKee, MCN, RDN, LD

Katie has always loved teaching others about the power of nutrition. She has a background in journalism as a reporter, writer and editor and has been part of the Dairy MAX team since 2015. When she's not working, Katie enjoys cooking and spending time with her young son and family. Learn more about Katie

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