There are tons of diet programs on the market and a new one comes out almost daily. In the beginning, it was said to reduce hypertension. There are actually two separate versions of this meal plan. Both offer their own health benefits. You should choose the one that best aligns with your health journey.
You’ll need to up your fruits, veggies, and whole grains while following the DASH diet. You can have a few seeds and nuts, but only non or low-fat dairy products. Red meat is on the same list of no-no’s as saturated fats and sugary sweets.
You allowed a bit of cheating room, but not much. The DASH diet means sourcing your protein from limited amounts of fish, beans, and poultry. It’s not all that difficult once you’re familiar with the best sources.
The DASH diet calls for two or fewer servings of lean meat each day. Grilled and baked fished or poultry are best. You should also opt out of cured and processed meats high in preservatives. One serving is about 3 ounces of lean meat. One egg is also a simple DASH serving.
Low and non-fat as well as skim all pass for dairy products. You shouldn’t consume more than two to three servings per day. Yogurt, kefir, milk, and cheese are all acceptable. Just make sure you choose the reduced fat type.
You can eat up to five servings of fruits and veggies daily. Fresh is better, but frozen is approved too. You should opt out of canned and sauced types. Beware of added fat, sugar, and salt. Consider fruits your go-to snack time options.
There’s a strict limit on seeds and nuts. These are limited to four to five servings each week. This number pertains to sugary delights as well. Fewer is even better. Try to keep your fat consumption down to about 30% of your daily intake.
You need to eat 7 to 8 servings of whole grains each day. Try to avoid those which are processed with excessive amounts of sugar. One-half cup of whole grain pasta, oatmeal, rice, or quinoa are great choices. One slice of bread or one cup of plain cereal without sugar.
DASH for Snacks
Any diet should allow for a bit of snacking but in moderation and optimal choices. Be smart when munching so you can grab a piece of chocolate cake from time to time.
- Fresh fruits with honey yogurt dip is always a smart munching choice.
- Air-popped popcorn with a small amount of salt is acceptable.
- A raw veggie medley with Greek yogurt is another satisfying option.
- Consider fresh sliced strawberries, non-fat, plain yogurt, almond slivers, and granola.
- Slather nut butter on a rice cake for a quick bite.
- Salt-free pretzels with low or non-fat string cheese is another munching option.
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension
One of the first DASH diet studies from the mid-nineties spanned a four-year period of time. There have been tons of trials since then which demonstrate the many health benefits of this program. It is often recommended for cardiovascular improvement. This is because the DASH plan has been shown to reduce hypertension (1).
A similar trial conducted by the Endocrine Research Center found comparable results. It demonstrated that the DASH program can lower triglycerides and reduce cholesterol. Participants in the study also showed a noteworthy reduction in weight (2). Due to these findings, it is sometimes recommended as a co-treatment for metabolic syndrome.
The Food Security Research Center discovered the DASH plan can reduce risks of heart failure and stroke. They found that following this plan can offer some protection against cardiovascular disorders in general and again confirmed a notable reduction of hypertension in participants (3).
DASH Diet Difficulties
Following another specific meal plan can make sticking to the DASH diet a bit difficult. This is especially true for those who suffer from gluten intolerances or sensitivities. There are some which align perfectly with this program. For example, those on a vegan path have some great resources to choose from. If you’re following a heart health plan, many of the same guidelines apply to the DASH diet as well.
Some individuals may find it more challenging to stay on point, regardless of the meal plan. Many find much more success with support. Seek out educational resources, consult your primary care physician, and join an online forum or two.
Adherence is essential to the success of any type of diet or fitness program. Don’t beat yourself down, if you fall a bit short from time to time. You’re human. It’s probably going to happen. The important part is to pick yourself up and keep moving forward.
Keep in mind that the DASH meal plan is still being recommended for co-treatment of various disorders. Scientific studies also continue. A meal program alone is not a cure for any type of disease. It can go a long way toward assisting in its management.
It is also important to consult a medical professional before making any drastic changes to your dietary intake. This is especially true if you under the care of a physician. For those targeting weight loss and/or bulking up, make sure fitness is a part of your program.
There are four basic principles to any diet which aims to lower your blood pressure. You should cut back on sodium. Reduce your processed product intake. Eat more fresh, wholesome foods. Opt for those rich in fiber and potassium. You must also participate in some form of routine physical activity. If you do these four things, you don’t need to invest large sums of money. You only need to create a path to your health goals and pave it.