The Dash Diet (officially known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a diet plan created by the National Institutes of Health to assist in lowering blood pressure. The Dash Diet Guidelines are endorsed by many other government health agencies, including the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association (among others).
The Dash Diet is based on the results of many scientific studies, so it has been proven to provide excellent health benefits.
Although the primary purpose of the Dash Diet is to lower blood pressure, following the Dash Diet Guidelines can also help you to lower cholesterol and to reduce inflammation.
The Dash Diet works by using plentiful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans, while reducing the intake of non-lean meats and sweets. The diet is low in fat and also includes many of the healthy foods included in the Mediterranean diet. Another important component of the Dash Diet is including low-fat milk and dairy products.
Because the diet is balanced and healthy, it is suitable for everyone, including children.
The Dash Diet is low in sodium, providing a dietary method for reducing blood pressure. There are two plans to choose from. The first contains a daily allowance of 2300mg of sodium, which has shown to reduce blood pressure. For an even bigger reduction in blood pressure, there is a Dash Diet program that allows 1500mg of sodium.
In addition to providing a choice of sodium levels, the Dash Diet also gives a regimen for various calorie intakes. Many people with high blood pressure also need to lose weight, so the Dash Diet is versatile, allowing one to not only reduce blood pressure but also lose weight simultaneously. To lose weight, you should choose a caloric level that is less than what you currently consume.
Certain nutrients are known for lowering blood pressure are potassium, magnesium and calcium. Foods containing these elements are especially featured in the Dash Diet. Some examples of foods that are rich sources of potassium, magnesium and fiber are: broccoli, carrots, collards, green beans, green peas, kale, lima beans, potatoes, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
If you have a sweet tooth, the Dash Diet could prove challenging. Any sweets should be low in fat, so if you are really craving something sugary, good choices might be flavored gelatin, hard candy, jelly or sorbets and ices.
Getting started using the Dash Diet Guidelines are easy. But as a quick start, you can also make simple substitutions that can have a major effect. Some examples are swapping crackers, chips or pretzels with raisins or nuts; having a piece of fruit for a snack, reduce red meat consumption by having a vegetarian meal once or twice a week, and switching from whole milk or cream in your coffee to low-fat or skim milk.