Dash Diet | What Does Dash Diet Mean?
What does DASH diet mean?
The DASH diet is rated as one of the best dietary approaches to control high blood pressure. It's a healthy eating plan that can also help you shed some pounds.
Read on to discover more about this diet and what it can do for your health.
In this article:
- What Does DASH Mean in DASH Diet?
- What Is the DASH Eating Pattern?
- How Many Servings of Each Food Group Are Recommended on the DASH Diet?
- What Is the DASH Eating Plan?
- What Foods Are Not Allowed on the DASH Diet?
- What Are the Advantages of the DASH Diet?
- What Are the Other DASH Diet Tips?
What Does DASH Diet Mean? | The Complete Guide
What Does DASH Mean in DASH Diet?
The word “DASH” in DASH diet means Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. And as the name itself suggests, this diet aims to treat or prevent hypertension or high blood pressure.
The DASH diet lessens your sodium and salt intake. It also encourages you to consume foods with nutrients that help manage your blood pressure.
This diet may be as effective as other blood pressure treatments or medications. In fact, a study shows that individuals with restricted-sodium diet have lowered their blood pressure by 5.6 mmHg.
What Is the DASH Eating Pattern?
The DASH diet has a balanced and flexible meal pattern. There's actually no strict set of foods in this diet. What's important is you focus on eating various nutritious foods, such as:
- Low-fat dairy products
- Lean protein, such as beans, chicken, and fish
- Whole grains
Additionally, include foods that are high in the following minerals:
Then, reduce your consumption of:
- Processed foods
- Red or fatty meats
- Saturated fat
- Full-fat dairy foods
Take note that your sodium intake must not exceed one teaspoon or 2,300 mg per day.
How Many Servings of Each Food Group Are Recommended on the DASH Diet?
To guide you on your food portions, take a look at these suggested servings for a 2,000-calorie DASH diet:
- Fruits: around 5 servings per day, with one medium-sized fruit considered as one serving
- Nuts and seeds: around 2-3 servings per week, with 1/3 cup of nuts counted as one serving
- Grains: 6-8 servings per day, with a slice of bread considered as a single serving
- Low-fat dairy foods: around two servings per day, with one cup milk as basis of one serving
- Oils and fats: 2-3 servings per day, with a teaspoon of healthy oil as one serving
- Vegetables: around 5 servings per day, with one cup of vegetables counted as one serving
- Lean meats: around two or fewer servings per day, with an ounce of cooked meat as one serving
- Sugar: five servings or less per week, with a tablespoon of sugar as one serving
However, remember that the serving size still depends on the number of calories your body needs per day.
What Is the DASH Eating Plan?
To help you on your DASH diet meal plan, you may want to follow this sample menu for a day:
- Morning meal or breakfast: Pecan oatmeal, cinnamon apples, and black coffee
- Morning snack: Apple with peanut butter
- Lunch: Grilled chicken breast and spring salad with mixed greens
- Afternoon snack: Hummus and carrot sticks
- Supper: Zucchini noodles with ground turkey and marinara sauce
- Dessert: Cocoa powder, strawberries, and yogurt
What Foods Are Not Allowed on the DASH Diet?
When following the DASH diet, you have to avoid foods and beverages that are high in salt, sugar, and fats, such as:
- Cold cured meats
- Salted nuts
What Are the Advantages of the DASH Diet?
1. Lower Blood Pressure
The DASH diet is recommended specifically for individuals with high blood pressure. It can also reduce your bad cholesterol levels.
These two factors, hypertension and bad cholesterol, are major risks for developing stroke, heart failure, and heart disease. And following the DASH diet may reduce your odds of having these conditions.
2. Weight Management
If you have hypertension, chances are you need to do something about your weight.
This is because the heavier you are, the higher your blood pressure can be.
Researchers have found out that the DASH diet can aid in weight loss. Since you need to cut out sugar and fats when you do this diet, you may eventually shed some weight. And when you couple the DASH diet with physical activity, it may also rev up your metabolism.
However, don't rely on this diet alone if your main goal is to reduce your weight. Keep in mind that the DASH diet was designed fundamentally to control hypertension. And that slashing your pounds may just be an added perk.
A low-carb diet may still be the more effective strategy for slimming down.
3. Other Health Benefits
The DASH diet may impact your body in different ways. Beyond treating hypertension and trimming excess weight, it may also show potential benefits when it comes to:
- Preventing kidney stones
- Lowering cancer risk, including breast and colorectal cancer
- Reducing diabetes risk
What Are the Other DASH Diet Tips?
1. Monitor All Parts of Your Meals
Don't focus on your main dish only. Be careful also with other courses that can sabotage your efforts in following the DASH diet.
Watch out for the appetizers, desserts, and drinks:
- Choose unsalted snacks over salty appetizers.
- You may eat bread, but go for whole-grain.
- Pick fresh fruits for your dessert.
- Water is your best option to quench your thirst. But you may also have tea, fruit juice, diet soda, and coffee.
2. Cut Down on Salt
When you eat out, remember to follow these tips:
- Don't forget to check food labels if they contain salt.
- Request for your meals to be prepared without adding salt.
- Limit flavorings or spices that are rich in salt, including pickles, ketchup, mustard, and sauces.
Cutting back on salt may be a bit hard, as salt enhances the flavors of your meals. Your food may start to taste different, and your taste buds may have to adjust.
However, this is the primary feature of the DASH diet. And you have to stick with it to reap its rewards.
3. Reduce Saturated Fats
The DASH diet limits foods that contain unhealthy fats. To reduce saturated fat, do the following:
- Opt for healthy cooking methods, like broiling, poaching, grilling, roasting, steaming, baking, and stir-frying.
- Prepare your meals with vegetable oils.
- Avoid spreading butter on your meals.
- Remove the fat and skin from meat and poultry.
Check out this video by LINKTV Health to learn about the salad dressings you may use when you're on a DASH diet:
It has been proven that the DASH diet works, and it's for everyone, especially for those with hypertension. It's sustainable, and you can do it for the rest of your life.
It can improve your health and wellness by balancing your meals from different food groups. What's more, it can also lower your risk of developing other conditions, such as stroke, diabetes, cancer, and heart and kidney diseases.
Which of these types of diet have you already tried?
- Paleo Diet
- Vegan Diet
- DASH Diet
- Gluten-Free Diet
Apart from the DASH diet, what other types of diet do you recommend that can also lower hypertension? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!
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