What is a DASH Diet and How Does It Work?

Originally meant to high blood pressure or hypertension, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is a healthy recommended to anyone who wants to lose weight or suffering from a chronic disease. Additionally, research shows DASH improves insulin sensitivity. It also manages cravings. You don’t need to worry about the junk. DASH is a rather enjoyable, straightforward and consistent diet program that doesn’t need you to follow the strict ever progressing rules of healthy living.

This diet originated from an observation made by researchers; vegans are hardly diagnosed with high blood pressure. The DASH diet is comprised of whole grains, low fat or non-fat diary vegetables, fruits and lean meats. Diet plays a crucial role in high blood pressure development. People ailing from high blood pressure have higher chances of suffering from health conditions like kidney failure, stroke, and heart disease. DASH was thus designed to lower blood pressure. It offers numerous benefits and also recommended for prevention of diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer.

How the DASH Diet Works

The diet is rich in magnesium, potassium, fiber, and calcium in addition to other nutrients but cutting down on sodium intake. You do not entirely stop consuming sodium but you should not exceed 1500mg. It is easy to add a DASH twist to your eating regimen:

  • Dump refined grains, go for whole grains
  • Eat more natural products and vegetables
  • Get low-fat or no fat dairy items
  • Use vegetable oils to cook
  • Pick lean sources of protein like beans, fish, and poultry
  • Avoid foods with high sugar levels including sweetened beverages
  • Keep off saturate fats, red meats, palm, palm kernel, and coconut oil

DASH diet focuses on portion control. You should not starve yourself but aim at eating less. Various servings are restricted to limited amounts. The diet outlines the types of food you should eat and the number of servings to consume daily or weekly. Here are a breakdown and basic guidelines of a DASH meal plan

5-7 Grain Servings per Day

Think bread, cereal, and rice when you talk of grains. The servings should be split between snacks and meals. One grain serving is equated to half a cup cooked cereal, pasta or rice, a single slice of bread or an ounce of cereal. All grains need to be whole as they are rich in vital nutrients and fiber. Use wheat bread and brown rice. Tone down on fatty grain accompaniments like cream cheese and butter.

3 to 7 Vegetable Servings Daily

Vegetables like tomato, broccoli, sweet potatoes, lettuce, spinach, and carrots are sources of vitamins,, and minerals including magnesium and potassium. Vegetables are easy to incorporate into meals. A vegetable serving translates to a cup of diced vegetables, cooked or raw. They should not be taken as side dishes. You may serve them with noodles or rice to make it a complete meal. If you use canned or frozen vegetables, look out for salt or sodium labels.

5 to 7 Fruits Servings Per Day

You can have a piece of fruit as a snack or after meals. It is recommended you eat edible peels as they are rich in fiber

1 to 3 Diary Servings Daily

Dairy products are a major source of vitamin D and calcium. Ensure they are low in fat or fat-free. One serving includes a cup of yogurt or a glass of skimmed milk.

2 Non- Vegetarian Servings or less Daily

Cutting the chicken and meat is a good DASH approach. Seafood like Salmon, Tuna, and Herring are sources of fatty acids. Roasting and baking are the preferred cooking methods.

4 to 5 Nut Servings per week

Nuts are incredibly rich in minerals. Almonds, lentils, nuts and kidney beans should only be consumed a couple of times. One serving is simply a water glass of nuts.

5 or Fewer Servings of Sweets Weekly

Sweets are enticing but indulging less will do you better. They are high in calories which the DASH diet is trying to eliminate. Go for healthier options like jelly beans, popsicles, low-fat cookies, and graham crackers.

The best and most effective DASH diet approach is introducing new recipes and foods to your diet slowly. Get creative with your meal plans. Do not forget to exercise!