The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is recommended to manage high blood pressure. This diet is rich in fruits and vegetables. You need to consume between three to five servings of vegetables daily and between four to five fruits daily.
One vegetables serving is equal to one cup of raw, leafy green vegetables, ½ cup of cut-up raw or cooked vegetables, or ½ cup of vegetable juice.
One fruit serving is equal to one medium fruit, ¼ cup of dried fruit, ½ cup of fresh, frozen or canned fruit, or ½ cup of 100 percent fruit juice.
It’s the perfect time of year to adopt the DASH diet if you are struggling with high blood pressure. Many varieties of produce are in season and farmers markets are readily available.
Three Benefits of Shopping at Farmers’ Markets
- Farmers’ markets are environmentally friendly. The food is produced and sold locally, while food in grocery stores travels an average of 1,500 miles before it reaches your plate.
- Produce grown for farmers’ markets is typically allowed to fully ripen naturally before it is harvested. Nothing is used to speed up the ripening process.
- The produce purchased at a farmers’ market comes straight from the garden, which means no processing. This equals fresh and nutrient-rich food.
Tips for Shopping at Farmers’ Markets
Shopping at a farmers’ market is not the same as going to the grocery store.
1) Know what is in season
Here are a few items separated by season. However, what is in season varies by where you live. Use this tool to narrow it down to your location and the season.
Spring (March, April, May) – asparagus, broccoli, limes, mangoes, oranges, rhubarb, spinach
Summer (June, July, August) – beets, bell peppers, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupes, cherries, cucumbers, eggplant, grapefruits, green beans, lima beans, nectarines, peaches, radishes, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelons, zucchini
Fall (September, October, November) – acorn squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, crab apples, cranberries, ginger, mushrooms, pears, pomegranates, sweet potatoes, turnips
Winter (December, January, February) – chestnuts, clementines, kiwis, leeks, red currants, turnips
2) Plan your meals in advance
If you go to a farmers’ market and don’t know what you need or what you will use a particular produce for, you will likely come home with items that will spoil before they are eaten. First, check what is in season. Second, plan your meal and find a recipe. Third, go to the farmers’ market to purchase the item you need.
3) Arrive early
For the best selection and freshest options, arrive when the market opens.
4) Stock up for later
Remember, you can use produce from a farmers’ market to feed yourself and your family year-round. Can, preserve and pickle what you find Do research so your preservation method is low-sodium and doesn’t promote high blood pressure.
Find a Farmers’ Market in Your Area
If you Google “farmers’ markets,” the results will likely list local options first. If that is not the case, the USDA has a farmers’ market directory to search.
If you are working to lower blood pressure, sign up for the free ecourse 7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure at http://lowerbloodpressurewithlisa.com.
Lisa Nelson RD, a registered dietitian since 1999, provides clients step-by-step guidance to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, so they can live life and enjoy their family for years to come. Because her own health is the foundation of her expertise, you can trust that Lisa will make it truly possible for you to see dramatic changes in your health, without unrealistic fads or impossibly difficult techniques. She can be found on Twitter @lisanelsonrd and Facebook at hearthealthmadeeasy.