What is The Dash Diet?

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Irregular blood pressure is one of the most common health problems around the world. In fact, 1.1 billion people are said to suffer from this issue. Blood pressure issues can be due to several reasons, from poor diet to family history. But no matter the cause, you can control your blood pressure by being careful about your diet. Since the number of people dealing with high blood pressure is rising every year, diet can be the difference maker. Here’s where the dash diet comes into play. It is said to normalize blood pressure and offers a healthy way of life to people. Let’s find out more about this diet:

What Is The Dash Diet?

Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension is what DASH diet stands for. It’s a diet that restricts consumption of large amount of salt so as to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). However, since the dash diet focuses on foods that contain less fat, people with no blood pressure problem can continue with a normal range of salt intake (2300 mgs) and still avoid high blood pressure.

A lot of diseases can hit a person who is dealing with a high blood pressure problem, especially heart diseases, hence, all the more need to look into the diet they’re taking. The diet included fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. However, the main aim of the diet is to keep a person low on salt intake since it can elevate blood pressure and increase chances of hypertension.

A dash diet recommends consuming 2300 mg of salt for people who don’t have any hypertension symptoms, however, people already having high blood pressure need to restrict their salt intake to 1500 mg. 

Foods To Eat In The Dash Diet

The dash diet doesn’t force to eat specific food because it is more of a pattern than a food chart. Meaning, if your calorie intake per day is 2000 mg then you need to control the amount of servings you eat each day accordingly. This is how your servings for each day should be:

6 to 8 Servings Of Whole Grains In A Day

Whole grains provide with a number of minerals, vitamins and fiber. Whole grains include foods like brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, cereals, bulgur etc.

One serving may include:

  • Whole grain bread - 1 slice
  • Dry whole grain cereal - 1 ounce
  • Cooked rice, pasta or cereal - ½ cup.

4 To 5 Servings Of Vegetables In A Day

The dash diet allows to eat every type of vegetables out there since they are low in fats and calories. Vegetables also provide with many essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, folate and fiber. However, the most important benefit of eating vegetables is that they are rich in potassium and potassium is said to control blood pressure. The dash diet encourages consumption of green vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, and cabbage.

One serving of vegetables can include:

  • Raw leafy vegetables (spinach or kale) - 1 cup
  • Cooked or raw vegetables like broccoli, carrots, squash or tomatoes - ½ cup.
  • Vegetable juice - ½ cup 

4 To 5 Servings Of Fruits In A Day

Following a dash diet involves eating fruits such as pears, peaches, apples, pineapples, berries, and mangoes. Here’s what a single serving can contain:

  • 1 medium sized fruit or dried fruit (¼ cup)
  • Fresh, frozen or canned fruit - 1/2 cup
  • Fruit juice - 1/2 cup

2 To 3 Servings Of Dairy Products

The dash diet allows dairy products that are low in fat. They include skim milk. yogurt and low fat cheese. One serving of dairy products can contain:

  • 1 cup skim milk or yogurt.
  • 5 ounce of low fat cheese.

6 servings Of Meat, Fish And Lean Chicken Per Day

The dash diet allows eating lean meats but only once or twice a week.  A single serving can include:

  • Chicken, fish or meat - 1 ounce
  • 1 egg

4 to 5 Servings Of Legumes, Seeds And Nuts Per Week

Flax seeds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, lentils, split peas, kidney beans can be eaten in a dash diet. One serving can include:

  • Nuts - 1/3 cup
  • Nut butter - 2 tbsp
  • Seeds - 2 tbsp
  • Cooked legumes - 1/2 cup of

2 - 3 Servings Of Fats And Oils Per Day

Choose vegetable oils as they are healthier than other options. These include olive oil, canola oil, corn oil, low fat mayonnaise, margarines etc. One serving can contain:

  • Soft margarine - 1 tbsp
  • Vegetable oil - 1 tbsp
  • Mayonnaise - 1 tbsp
  • Salad dressing - 2 tbsp.

Benefits Of The Dash Diet

Lowers Blood Pressure: The normal blood pressure of a person is 120/80. Blood pressure reading of above 140/90 is considered high, and can cause serious problems. For people having a high BP problem, dash diet is the solution. It helps lower the blood pressure since it limits the intake of salt, which causes BP to shoot. It can bring it 11 points lower which is quite good.

Reduces Risk Of Cancer: Since the dash diet is low in fats and focuses on eating healthy, there is a reduced risk of cancer.

Reduces The Risk Of Metabolic Syndrome: According to studies, the dash diet is said to lower the risk of metabolic syndrome.

Lowers Risk Of Diabetes: Studies say that dash diet lowers the risks of getting type II diabetes.

Less Heart Diseases: Since the diet focuses on keeping the blood pressure normal, there are less chances for dieters to get any heart disease.

Dash Diet Recipes To Know About

Here are some tasty and healthy dash diet recipes you can prepare:

Fresh Fruit Kebabs

Ingredients:

  • low-fat lemon yogurt (sugar free) - 6 ounces
  • fresh lime juice - 1 tbsp
  • lime zest - 1 tbsp
  • ½ inch pineapple chunks - 4
  • 4 strawberries
  • peeled and quartered kiwi - 1
  • Four 1/2-inch chunks of banana - 1/2
  • 4 wooden skewers
  • 4 red grapes

Method:

  • Take a bowl and add yogurt, lime juice and lime zest. Whisk together and refrigerate.
  • On the skewer, thread one of each fruit. Keep repeating to fill up the skewer with fruit chunks.
  • Take out the mixture you made earlier from the fridge and serve with the threaded fruits.

White Bean Dip 

dash diet plan

Ingredients:

  • Rinsed and drain white beans (cannellini) - 1 can (15 ounce)
  • Roasted garlic cloves - 8
  • Olive oil - 2 tbsp
  • Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
  • French Bread

Method:

  • Add the beans, garlic cloves, olive oil and lemon juice in a blender and blend until it turns smooth.
  • Take French bread, and on each slice, spread the white bean dip mixture you just made above and enjoy eating. 

How Soon Can You See Results?

A dash diet can help lower your blood pressure level in just 2 weeks.

The Verdict

If you too are suffering from high blood pressure then it’s about time to turn to the dash diet.

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