A DASH Diet is a dietary strategy to prevent hypertension that is inspired by NHLBI (National Health lung and Blood Institute). It is a diet that is advised for individuals to treat hypertension and in reducing the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Dash diet mainly focuses on vegetables, fruits, lean meat, and whole grains. The DASH diet was introduced when the researchers discovered that in people who followed the vegetarian or vegan diet, high blood pressure was less common.
The primary reason that people benefit from the DASH diet is that it is a low salt intake and it recommends no more than one teaspoon of sodium each day. Apart from lowering blood pressure, this diet also has certain potential benefits like reduced risk of cancer and aids in weight loss. While you should not rely on this diet particularly for weight loss, as it was mainly developed to lower blood pressure.
Let us consider some of the benefits of the DASH Diet
- It lowers blood pressure: The pressure on your blood vessels when the blood passes through the veins and the force that the heart uses to pump the blood throughout the body is known as blood pressure. It is normally counted in two numbers: systolic pressure and Diastolic pressure. Hypertension or High blood pressure contributes to heart disease in more than fifty percent of the adults in America and is a leading cause of death. But it can be reversed by switching to a healthy lifestyle and by following a healthy diet plan like the dash diet which focuses on low sodium intake.
- Meets the sodium requirements: This diet plan fulfills the sodium requirements and is a great plan to reduce hypertension, type 2 diabetes and reduce heart disease.
- Manage the stress level: As the DASH diet mainly focuses on consuming foods like lean protein, vegetables, and fruits, it also increases the fiber content in the food. When a person combines this diet plan with a healthy lifestyle like regular exercise, quitting smoking, reducing the consumption of alcohol along with proper rest helps in managing stress and in improving the health.
- Enable boost Heart health: As per the research conducted, a woman who follows the Dash diet who is suffering from type 2 diabetes has a lower risk of heart disease than a woman who did not follow the Dash diet which includes consuming foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Reduced blood sugar: The DASH diet focuses on veggies and fruits along with some lean protein foods like beans, fish, and chicken. This diet plan is low in fat, added sugar, red meat, and salt. The Dash diet along with weight loss and exercise was successful in reducing the blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients.
- To provide better nutrition: The Dash diet promotes healthy eating habits. It emphasizes eating fresh vegetables and fruits rather than eating processed foods where too much sodium and sugar are being added. Fresh vegetables and fruits have all the nutrients like minerals, vitamins, and fiber that are required for the body.
A Person who is on the Dash diet can consume low-fat dairy products, fresh vegetables and fruits, poultry fish and some legumes, whole grains, Small quantities of sweets, red meat, and fat. A person with a 2000 calorie per day Dash diet can consume six to eight servings of grains that include rice, bread, pasta, and cereal. Certain vegetables contain vitamins and fiber in up to four or five servings. The vegetables that can be included in the diet are sweet potato, broccoli, carrot, greens, and tomatoes. Fruits that are rich in fiber, vitamins, magnesium, minerals, and potassium can also be consumed.
Types of Dash diet
There are two types of Dash diet that you can choose from:
- The standard DASH diet: The per day sodium consumption is limited to 2,300 milligrams which aid in meeting the dietary guidelines to keep the sodium consumption within the limit.
- Lower- Sodium DASH diet: In this plan, the per day sodium consumption is limited to 1,500 mg. A person can choose whichever Dash diet he wants to take as per his health requirements.
Those people who find it difficult to make the right decision can take the help of their doctor as they can guide them in choosing the right Dash diet plan. The average Dash diet eating plan includes:
- Four to five servings of veggies and fruits
- Six or fewer servings of fish, poultry, meat
- Six to eight servings of whole grains
- Two to three servings of oils or fat
- Two to three servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy products
- The saturated fat must be six percent or less of the calories
- The total fat must be 27 percent of calories
- The carbohydrates must be around 55 percent of the calories
- Protein is 18 percent of calories and fiber 30 grams or more.
DASH diet is a healthy plan to lower blood pressure and shed weight. People who have stuck with this diet plan have benefited from it. Following this diet plan has also led to preventing heart failure in people below seventy-five years. It has not only helped in lowering the blood pressure but has even shown signs of improvement in the production of insulin and in reducing triglyceride levels.
If you are on medications, do not stop taking them without consulting your doctor. Limiting the use of alcohol, managing stress, quitting smoking, and taking adequate rest can also have a positive impact on your health.
A Dash diet plan can be chosen depending on how much weight you want to shed per day. There are many benefits of following the Dash diet plan. But, there are a few drawbacks like the diet plan is not designed to aid in weight loss, it only naturally supports weight loss. The Dash diet plan focuses on eating more high-fiber-content foods and drinking plenty of water.