If you suffer from high blood pressure, chances are you have already heard about the DASH diet. However, if you are in a group of people who haven’t done it and want to know what it is, we recommend that you read this article thoroughly.

Table of Contents

What is DASH Diet?

As the name suggests, the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet was developed in an attempt to lower dangerously low blood pressure levels in a population without the administration of clinical medication. It proved effective in fighting the disease for people who were vulnerable to high blood pressure conditions. However, the DASH diet not only helps people with high blood pressure, but also helps control many other diseases such as stroke, heart disease, some types of cancer, diabetes and kidney stones.
The DASH diet doesn’t only need to be implemented by people with high blood pressure. Anyone who wants to keep their weight under control and maintain good health can follow this routine. The DASH diet mainly consists of the goodness of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds and low-fat/non-fat dairy products.

Anyone can follow the DASH diet for significant health benefits. Studies conducted to investigate the benefits of the DASH diet have found that it can go a long way in preventing high blood pressure in children as well as adults. In addition, its health benefits range from lowering cholesterol levels, lowering blood sugar levels, improving bone health, reducing the risk of arthritis, inflammation and even cancer. Therefore, while the DASH diet can be followed by your entire family, individuals at risk of high blood pressure and heart diseases benefit the most from following this diet routine.

Do’s and Don’ts in DASH Diet?

Like any diet plan, the DASH diet also prescribes foods that should be added and avoided. In the section below, we will discuss in detail about the foods that need to be added and avoided. Read on to find out.

foods to add to your dash diet

DASH Diet: Foods to Add

The DASH Diet aims to help you reduce your sodium intake and increase your intake of nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, which will lower your blood pressure.

It emphasizes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, as well as allowing moderate amounts of nuts, fish, poultry, and whole grains.

In the DASH diet, you can also eat sweets, fats and red meat but in controlled amounts. The eating plan in discussion is low in trans fat, total fat and saturated fat.

ideal serving size

1. You can eat 6-8 servings of cereals in a day. So, you can choose from bread, pasta, cereal, or rice. Try to eat whole grains instead of refined grains as they are rich in nutrient content and high in fiber value.
2. Consuming four to five servings of vegetables like broccoli, carrots, tomatoes and leafy greens is ideal when you are following the DASH diet.
3. You can also eat up to 4-5 servings of fruits as part of this diet.
4. When it comes to dairy products, consume milk/curd/paneer or other dairy products, but limit yourself to a total of 2-3 servings a day.
5. You can have six courses of lean meat, poultry or fish, as long as the portion size does not exceed one meal.
6. Nuts, seeds and beans can be consumed four to five times a week.
7. Limit fat and oil consumption to 2-3 servings per day. Choose monounsaturated fats over unhealthy trans fats.
8. If you want, you can eat sweets even while following the DASH diet. Simply include less than five servings of sweets a week in your eating plan.

What to Avoid on the DASH Diet

no to junk

The DASH diet includes high-fat snacks, high-sugar items, and foods with high salt content to stay away from food items.

High-sodium, high-sugar and fat-dense food products have a detrimental effect on your blood pressure and put you at risk of developing high cholesterol and heart diseases. Some unhealthy foods to avoid during this diet are –

  • candy
  • cookies
  • chips
  • salted nuts
  • sweetened beverages
  • Soda
  • breakfast
  • pastry
  • cheese
  • meat dishes
  • Prepackaged Rice and Pasta Dishes
  • Soup
  • Pizza
  • salad dressings
  • Cold Cuts / Cured Meat
  • Sandwich
  • Sauce and Gravy
  • bread rolls

Do you have to cut salt from your diet?

DASH Diet - Low Salt

Yes, it can be difficult for any person to completely cut salt intake out of their diet in the first place. We understand this. However, you don’t have to go cold-turkey on the salt—how about using a substitute?

Salt substitutes made from potassium are easily available in the market and can be included in your diet. By using a healthier alternative instead of the real thing in your diet, you reduce your risk of a variety of health complaints.

You can opt for spices and herbs, lemon juice, vinegar, and even salt-substitutes such as using kosher salt, pink salt, sea salt, and low-sodium salt. In addition, potassium-based salt substitutes will work effectively as a cooking ingredient, replacing salt and maintaining your blood pressure levels as well.

Doctors, however, do not recommend excessive consumption of potassium chloride due to its negative health effects if it is taken in large amounts. Such individuals may react adversely to potassium chloride in their diet. However, they can benefit from naturally consuming foods rich in potassium, such as beans, yogurt, potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, etc.

As far as alcohol and cigarettes are concerned, both increase blood pressure. While it is absolutely not advisable to smoke while on the DASH diet, you can still enjoy up to one alcoholic drink a day. Drinking in small, controlled portions should not negatively impact the benefits you get from following this eating plan.

If you are a regular smoker then it can be challenging for you to stop smoking completely. Outside support, such as medicines or participating in support groups, to help you quit.

dash diet plan

dash diet plan

Now, the DASH diet plan does not specifically specify what to eat in the diet. Instead, it specifies the serving sizes you must adhere to. Serving sizes for each food group have already been discussed above. Here, we provide you with a sample one-day meal plan modeled after the DASH diet.

pre breakfast– 1 glass of fenugreek water

breakfast– Dal Paratha (without oil) with peanut chutney and grilled paneer vegetable sandwich with a glass of buttermilk or a glass of skimmed milk

midday meal – 1 medium apple with a cup of curd.

lunch– 1 cup boiled brown rice, 1 cup moong dal, 1 cup mixed vegetable and 1 cup cucumber tomato salad.

Evening snack– 1 cup sprouted moong with a glass of coconut water

dinner– 1 bowl oats upma with green salad with vegetables and paneer and 2 chapatis, 1 cup palak paneer, and carrot raita

The dash diet plan should almost follow the nutrients of this one day eating plan. You can choose to replace the vegetarian options of your choice with animal-based options such as fish, chicken and eggs. Similarly you can bring in a variety of fruits like peaches, pineapples and pears to play with the flavor of your diet routine.

Nutrient intake should be more or less the same throughout. You can also choose to switch from one meat type to another and include pork, beef and bacon in your DASH diet but in controlled portions.

Is the dash diet good for weight loss?

dash diet and weight loss

Many health and fitness enthusiasts are curious – is the DASH diet suitable for weight loss? the answer is yes. While primarily designed for individuals vulnerable to high blood pressure, the DASH Diet is a healthy eating plan that promotes the consumption of whole foods and the reduction of sugar and unhealthy fats in your intake. Naturally, this helps to lose and/or maintain weight.

Unlike other fad diets, this food group does not prescribe exclusions or extreme calorie reductions. As a result, it is easy to follow and stick to.

The DASH diet promotes manageable dietary changes that are fairly flexible, and the diet plan is based on reliable nutritional advice.
While you can opt for a more targeted weight loss diet plan, the DASH diet plan will help you lose that unwanted flirtatiousness while managing any adverse symptoms of heart health and blood pressure!

health benefits of dash diet

In this section, we will learn about the health benefits of the DASH diet. The DASH diet is renowned for providing a range of proven properties to people. So what are these? let’s find out.

  • As already discussed, the DASH diet is designed and acts as a natural counter to high blood pressure.
  • The DASH diet also improves the strength of your bones. It can help prevent osteoporosis and maintain your overall bone strength. This characteristic is the result of an increase in the amount of calcium recommended as part of the diet.
  • The DASH diet lowers the level of uric acid in your body, especially if you suffer from hyperuricemia. If you follow this eating plan, you are less prone to diseases like gout.
  • Additionally, the DASH diet prevents metabolic disorders. You need to consume balanced nutrition and reduce your consumption of fat as part of your DASH diet.
  • You eat more complex carbohydrates than simple sugars in this diet. Naturally, the bad cholesterol in your body gets reduced.
  • A higher intake of fruits and vegetables in the DASH diet is also related to a lower risk of cancer.

summary

The DASH diet was originally formulated to reduce blood pressure levels in the human population. It was found to be just as effective as the first-line drug given to people at high risk of high blood pressure. Since it promotes the consumption of whole foods and encourages you to reduce high-sugar, high-starch and high-fat, choosing this diet is a healthy way to get enough nutrition and maintain health. .

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