DASH diet stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension. This dietary pattern is designed to control hypertension. It focuses on fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, nuts, beans, and whole grains. It eliminates fats, sugars,
alcoholic beverages, and processed foods. According to USDA, it is considered as the most healthy eating plan.
This healthy eating plan provides a high-quality lifestyle. Even if you want to lose your weight then this diet is ideal for you. This article gives you a complete overview of the DASH diet and the DASH diet eating plan.
What is the DASH diet?
DASH stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension. This diet is based on the following principles.
- Eat more fruits, vegetables, and low dairy products.
- Consume lean meat.
- Limit foods that contain saturated fat or trans fat.
- Limit sugars and alcoholic beverages.
- Select foods that are low in sodium and rich in potassium, calcium, protein, fiber, and magnesium.
Standard DASH diet:
- Sodium per day intake is 2300mg or 1 tablespoon.
Lower Sodium DASH diet:
- Take 1500 mg sodium for better results.
Potential benefits of the DASH diet
DASH diet has several benefits for your body.
Lowers Blood Pressure
- Hypertension is becoming a common problem worldwide. No of people suffering from high pressure has been increasing day by day. High blood pressure is linked with several other chronic diseases like diabetes, kidney failure, heart failure, and obesity.
- Diet plays a very important role in the maintenance of blood pressure.
- Normal systolic blood pressure for adults. 120mmHg
- Normal diastolic blood pressure for adults is 80mmHg.
- Blood Pressure ranging from 140/90mmHg is considered as high blood pressure.
- DASH diet is specifically designed to lower blood pressure. It reduces systolic pressure by 12mmHg and diastolic pressure by 5mmHg.
- DASH diet contains 2300mg (1 teaspoon) of sodium per day.
Helps in weight loss
- As the DASH diet limits fats, sugars, and alcoholic beverages. It is very helpful in losing weight.
- Obesity is interlinked with high blood pressure. High blood pressure causes obesity. So, when a DASH diet lowers blood pressure it also reduces weight.
- However, if you want to lose your weight on the DASH diet then you should also limit calorie intake.
Decreases Cancer risk
- DASH diet reduces the risk of colorectal and breast cancer. This diet is enriched with a high amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants.
Decreases Diabetes risk
- Studies have shown that the DASH diet is associated with lowering the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
- It improves insulin sensitivity in the body. But the insulin sensitivity is observed only when the DASH diet opts along with lifestyle modifications. It involves exercise and a weight loss program.
Lowers Heart Disease risk
DASH diet lowers the risk of heart diseases to 20%. And decreases the risk of stroke to 29%. DASH diet decreases CVD risk factors like hypertension, diabetes, and weight.
What to eat in the DASH diet?
The amount of service depends on the calories you need for a day. Here is the food serving for a 2000 calorie diet plan.
Grains 6 to 8 servings per day
Consume whole grains as compared to refined grains. Whole grains contain a high amount of fiber and nutrients. Use brown bread instead of white bread and use brown rice instead of white rice. Use whole-wheat pasta instead of regular pasta. Fat content is low in grains. Try to consume whole grains without any added butter or cream.
- Grains include rice, pasta, cereals, legumes, and bread.
- 1serving include half a cup of cooked rice or pasta
- 1 slice of whole-grain bread
Vegetables 4 to 5 servings per day
Vegetables are rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
- Select raw and fresh vegetables. If you are looking for canned vegetables then consume those vegetables that are labeled as low salt or without salt.
- If you want to increase the servings of vegetables then decrease servings of meat and add vegetable servings instead of it.
- Leafy green vegetables, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, and peas are good to use.
- 1 serving includes half a cup raw or cooked sliced vegetables like broccoli or carrots.
- 1 cup of leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale.
Fruits 4 to 5 servings per day
Fruits are enriched with antioxidants, fibers, vitamins, minerals, and all other essential nutrients that are needed to maintain a healthy body.
In the case of canned fruits make sure that it contains no added sugar.
- In the case of citrus fruits and juices consult with your doctor as citrus fruits can interact with certain medications.
- The peels of apples, pears contain essential nutrients and fiber. So, don’t remove it. Try to consume it in raw form.
- 1 serving include one medium Apple
- Half cup of canned or frozen peaches
Dairy 2 to 3 servings per day
Use fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Consume skim milk or buttermilk alternative. Dairy products are very important for the body because they are a good source of calcium, protein, and vitamin D.
- If you are suffering from lactose intolerance then use lactose-free products.
- Add some pieces of fruits in dairy products to make them tasty and healthy.
- 1 serving include
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1 cup low-fat yogurt
Lean meat -6 -1-ounce servings or fewer per day
- Choose lean meat that is fish and poultry that is low in saturated fat and trans fat.
- You can roast, boil, grill, or bake meat pieces instead of frying it in oil.
- Consume Salman fish and tuna fish which is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids essential for heart health.
- 1 serving include
- One egg
- 1 ounce of cooked meat
Nuts, seeds, and legumes 4 to 5 servings per week
- Nuts are a good source of protein, potassium, and magnesium. They are also loaded with fibers, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are plant compounds that protect against cardiovascular diseases and other chronic diseases.
- They are consumed in small serving sizes because of their fat content. So, eat them in moderation.
- They contain healthy fats like Omega 3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats.
- Soybean based seeds are a good source of protein and are used as an alternative to meat.
- 1 serving include
- 2 tablespoons of seeds
- Half cup of cooked legumes
Fats and oils 2-3 servings per day
- DASH diet recommends 30% of total calories from the fast group.
- Fat is very important for the immune system of the body but too much fat can lead to heart diseases and obesity.
- DASH diet emphasis on the intake of monounsaturated fat as compared to saturated fat and trans fat.
- Before choosing any margarine and salad dressing read food labels carefully and choose those foods that are low in saturated and trans fat.
- 1 serving include
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp of salad dressing
Sweets five servings or fewer per week
- Choose those sweets that are low in fat or fat-free like hard candies or fat-free cookies.
- Use diet Coke instead of regular coke.
- Sensibly use artificial sweeteners to satisfy your sugar needs.
- Limit those foods that contain added sugar.
- 1 serving include
- 1 tbsp of jelly or jam
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
Dash diet Eating plan for one day
|Breakfast||1 cup oatmeal +1 cup skim milk + ½ cup raspberries + half cup fresh orange juice|
|Snack||1 medium banana|
|Lunch||Salad made with 130g of grilled tuna +1 boiled egg+2 cups of green salad +2 tablespoon of low-fat dressing + half cup of cherry tomatoes|
|Snack||1 cup of fruits salad|
|Dinner||3 ounces fish with 1 cup mixed vegetables + 1 cup of brown rice|
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to exercise on the DASH diet?
DASH diet becomes more effective with exercise. To lower blood pressure and weight 30 minutes, moderate activity is recommended.
Can I drink coffee in the DASH diet?
DASH diet has no specific guidelines about coffee. However, it is assumed that coffee contains caffeine that can raise blood pressure. But that rise in BP is only short term.
- For normal healthy individuals, 3 to 4 cups of coffee per day is considered safe.
- For those people suffering from hypertension, should care about can coffee intake.
What do you eat for breakfast on the DASH diet?
- 1 banana
- 1 cup fat-free milk
- 1 cup cooked oatmeal
- 1 teaspoon margarine
Is the DASH diet healthy?
DASH diet is considered as a healthy eating plan. It is low in sodium, trans fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. It includes fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, lean meat, nuts, and beans.
What is not allowed on the DASH diet?
- High sugar foods
- High fats
- High sodium-containing foods are not allowed.
Dash type means dietary approaches to stop hypertension. This diet is designed to prevent from hypertension. Moreover ,it provides several other health benefits. It also helps to protect against certain types of cancers and type 2 diabetes. This diet emphasis on fruit and vegetable consumption and reduces sodium intake. DASH diet work effectively with lifestyle modifications like exercise and weight loss programs.