Do you know if your parents or other family members have high blood pressure or heart disease?

Even if you're young, it's important to start adopting a healthy diet. Eating well now can prevent health problems later. Did you know that many of the most common disease are correlated with dietary habits? Click To Tweet

Diabetes, heart disease and cancer risk can all be reduced with a healthy diet. My new cookbook for two will hit stores on August 11. The 2-serving recipes are great for anyone living in a small household – singles, young professionals, young families or empty nesters.

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of conditions that increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease. The symptoms are not all apparent, so it’s important to check in with your doctor annually for blood work and a check up. Signs for metabolic syndrome include:

  • obesity (especially excess fat around the waist)
  • high blood pressure
  • abnormal blood lipids (low HDL, high triglycerides)
  • elevated blood sugar

If you have more than one of these issues going on, it may not mean you have metabolic syndrome. But, you are at higher risk to develop diabetes and heart disease. It’s estimated that one third of Americans have metabolic syndrome, so it ‘s never too early to start with preventive dietary measures.

Good habits start young

DASH diet has the potential to even help children or teens that are heading down this road.  One study of girls with metabolic syndrome found that after spending just six weeks on DASH, blood pressure and insulin levels were improved compared to a control. Another study that tracked the diets of young girls over the course of ten years and reported that those whose diets simply included two or more servings of dairy and at least three servings of fruits and vegetables daily were one-third less likely to have high blood pressure by the time they hit their late teens. That’s pretty amazing.

Adopting DASH at any Age

If you have high blood pressure, it’s especially a good idea to educate your children early and instill healthy habits. If you are a young adult, try to find out about your family history, or just be sure to check for the conditions that lead to metabolic syndrome. Early intervention can absolutely prevent it or at least minimize the severity of symptoms.

It’s never too early to consider a DASH eating style! Search the DASHdiet/Wellness Tag for more information and try these tasty tacos.