What is the dash diet

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Many people have come to understand that the most important thing when it comes to trying to lose weight is not to embark on a one off diet plan and then continue to eat as usual after a while. A healthy diet is the answer to good health as well as a proper weight. This signifies the focal point of the dash diet. In a nutshell, the dash diet is all about healthy eating throughout one's life.

With the dash diet there are a number of benefits that one can hope to gain, apart from weight loss. The main benefit from this type of diet is a lower blood pressure. This can be attained thanks to foods that are rich in nutrients which will support a low blood pressure because they are rich in calcium, magensium and potassium. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts. Actually the name of this diet itself arose from this issue of maintaining a low blood pressure. In fact dash stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. For those who are not acquainted with the term hypertension, it is the technical name for high blood pressure. Therefore the dash diet is ultimately all about being a diet made up of foods and measures which will help to keep blood pressure as low as possible.

The Dash Diet is a dietary pattern which was originally promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. This is based in the US and forms part of the National Institutes of Health which work to control as well as prevent hypertension and problems associated with it.

Basically we have by now established that the dash diet helps to lower the blood pressure.  Therefore one will need to compose meal plans that are made up of proper foods to reach this goal. Snacks for this diet generally include whole grains, nuts and beans, and of course fruits and vegetables. Then it is also important to use lean meat, poultry and fish as a key part of one's diet plan too as these are also rich in sodium, vitamins and minerals. Non fat and low fat dairy products are also to be included in such a diet. So this is basically healthy eating throughout one's life in order to lower blood pressure and at the same time use this as a healthy lifestyle which will in turn help to maintain a healthy weight.

The Dash Diet places considerable importance on the portion sizes. As a general rule of thumb people who try to follow this diet eat a variety of foods and keep an eye that they are getting the necessary nutrients in the proper amounts. Thus the Dash diet is a lifelong diet, or lifestyle. It is also the kind of diet that people who already suffer from high blood pressure need to follow in order to keep it under control. Following the Dash diet will enable one to reduce blood pressure, and all in all it is a healthy way of eating as it does not only contribute in terms of the blood pressure but also on other health aspects. Some of these include a reduction in the incidence of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis.

The Dsh Diet emphasizes a lot on fruits and vegetables along with low fat dairy foods.  Then there would be a moderate amount of foods such as fish, poultry, legumes, whole grains and nuts. Sweets and fats are allowed but in very small amounts especially since the Dash Diet is not only low in sodium but low in saturated fat and cholesterol. The sodium attained from these foods are what is most important in the Dash Diet. In a Standard Dash Diet in fact one will need to consume not more than 2300mg of sodium daily. There is then another version of the Dash diet, often referred to as the Lower Sodium Dash diet. In this case one can consume up to 1500mg per day. So the main aim is to reducesodium levels in one's diet. To put this into perspective it is a good idea to explain that most people typically have a diet where sodium levels reach over 3000mg of sodium per day.

The Dash Diet recommends an intake of six to eight servings per day of grains, including pasta, rice, bread and cereals. Grains should be retained as low in fats as possible, so one should refrain from adding too much butter, cream and/or sauces. Whole wheat pasta and whole grain bread are recommended.

Then there should be between four and five servings of vegetables per day. The best types of vegetables include those that are very high in fibers, vitamins, and minerals. These include carrots, broccoli,  tomatoes and sweet potatoes. A common tendency for many people, is to eat vegetables only as side dishes. In reality vegetables should be a key food option in one's diet, especially in the Dash Diet. So daily servings should be increased along with their respective portions.

Likewise, one should stick to four to five servings of fruits per day. Fresh fruit salads, edible peels and juices are ideal in a Dash diet.

Dairy products, particularly low fat or fat free yogurts, should take up two or three servings per day.

Poultry, fish and lean meats are to be included but it is better to replace them with vegetables whenever possible. Best options include tuna, salmon and herring in the case of fish, and poultry and meat that are lean.

Nuts, legumes and seeds are recommended  at up to five servings daily. However one should be cautious as they are not the main food option in a dash diet. This is also important in the case of oils and fats, and of course, sweets.

It is not easy to start off on the Dash Diet and maintain it at its best from the start. So it is best to start gradually and get used to it a little at a time. Adding some physical activity is also important. A Dash diet is a great way to start a healthier lifestyle and to embrace healthy eating, while losing weight and benefiting from positive health benefits as outlined above.

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