The DASH diet is a heart-healthy eating plan that helps you regulate high blood pressure and lose weight while eating mostly vegetables.
People who choose to go on a diet can take this step for different reasons. The majority of people follow a diet to lose weight; this is the most common reason to go on a diet.
There are also people who try to have a healthier lifestyle so they usually follow a diet plan to eat healthier. But you can also go on a diet if your health requires you to.
This is what the DASH diet is all about: it boosts your health by lowering your blood pressure.
What you are eating can have a major role in developing high blood pressure. So scientists have designed a dietary strategy to help you with this condition.
High blood pressure is something you should take really seriously. Heart diseases, strokes, and kidney failure are more prone to appear when you suffer from it.
The DASH Diet Explained
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a diet created for those who what to treat hypertension, known as high blood pressure, or prevent it while also reducing the risk of heart diseases.
If you are on this specific diet you will mainly eat vegetables, fruits, lean meat, and whole grains.
This diet was created by researchers after they observed that high blood pressure is not a common problem for people who followed a plant-based diet. This is why this diet is focused mainly on fruits and vegetables.
You will also be allowed to consume lean protein which you will obtain from fish, chicken, and even beans.
The main restriction of this diet will be cutting out any added sugar, red meat, fat, and salt. All these restrictions help regulate high blood pressure.
The DASH diet will allow you to have one teaspoon of sodium in a day which is about 2,300 mg. This is the amount of sodium that falls in line with the national guidelines.
The Benefits Of Going On The DASH Diet
This is a diet that can have beneficial outcomes when it comes to your body and your health. Here are its main benefits:
1. Lowers Your Blood Pressure
Your health will benefit a great deal if you manage to lower your blood pressure. The risk of heart attack, strokes, and other serious health problems will be managed.
Think of this diet as something that is really good for your health. Just by watching how much sodium (salt) you consume, you can significantly improve your overall health.
2. It Can Help You Lose Weight
When you are following the DASH diet, the main focus is put on lowering your blood pressure. But a great “side effect” of this diet can be weight loss.
This diet will require you to cut out all the sugary foods, high-fat foods, and salty ones. This will inevitably lead to a lower calorie intake which means you will eventually lose weight.
Now, remember, the DASH diet is not designed to help you lose weight; this is the amazing effect of eating healthy.
But if your goal is to shed a few pounds, you can follow the DASH diet guidelines while also creating a calorie deficit for faster weight loss.
3. All The Other Health Benefits
If you are following this diet, you may enjoy other health benefits that come with it:
- Reduces the risk of heart attacks;
- Lowers your risk of diabetes;
- Decreases cancer risks, among others.
The main reason why this diet proves to be so good for your health is the high amounts of fruits and vegetables you will consume.
Everything You Can Eat On The DASH Diet
This is a diet that doesn’t focus on a list of foods you can eat but rather you will have a distinctive serving of certain food groups you can consume on your diet.
Usually, the number of servings you can consume depends on the number of calories you will consume.
I will list you all the food portions you can have if you are on a 2000 calorie intake:
Vegetables on a 2000 calorie diet should be 4 to 5 servings a day. On the DASH diet, you are allowed to eat all kinds of vegetables.
2. Whole Grains
Whole grains should be 6 to 8 servings per day. You can eat whole grains such as breakfast cereals, quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, whole-grain, or whole-wheat bread.
You are allowed to eat 4 to 5 servings of fruits each day. When you are following this diet you will consume a lot of fruits. You can include fruits like apples, berries, pears, peaches, mango, and pineapple.
4. Lean Meat And Fish
Lean meat and fish are not supposed to be more than 6 servings a day. Choose lean meats like chicken and other lean cuts and reduce the red meat consumption to once or twice a week.
The dairy product should be on your daily menu 2 or 3 times. On the DASH diet, the dairy product must be low in fat, like low-fat yogurt, skim milk, and low-fat cheese.
6. Fats And Oils
They are supposed to be 2 or 3 servings per day when it comes to the DASH diet.
It is recommended to use vegetable oil instead of any other oils. You can use corn, olive, canola, or sunflower oil.
Some light salad dressing and low-fat mayonnaise are also allowed.
7. Seeds And Nuts
Seeds, legumes, and nuts are supposed to be 4 to 5 servings in a week. You can eat nuts like peanuts, almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts.
When it comes to seeds, you can eat flaxseeds and sunflower seeds.
And your legumes for the week should include lentils, split peas, and kidney beans.
Candies and any added sugars must not be consumed more than 4 times a week.
Make sure you are not overdoing it with the added sugar! This means you need to limit your soda, any candy, or the table sugar intake.
Unrefined sugar should be out of the question on this diet and so is any alternative sugar sources like stevia or agave nectar.
Example Of A One-Week Menu For The DASH Diet
To better understand this diet and all the servings you need to consume in a day, I have for you a one-week sample menu based on a 2000-calorie meal plan:
Breakfast: 95 grams of oatmeal, 250 ml of skim milk, 80 grams of blueberries, and 120 ml of fresh orange juice.
Snack: One apple and one low-fat yogurt.
Lunch: 90 grams of chicken breast, 150 grams of green salad, 45 grams low-fat cheese, and 185 grams of brown rice.
Snack: 30 grams of peaches and one low-fat yogurt.
Dinner: 90 grams of salmon that you cook in one tablespoon of vegetable oil with 300 grams of boiled potatoes and 230 grams of boiled vegetables.
Breakfast: Two slices of toast with a tablespoon of margarine, a tablespoon of jam or jelly, 130 ml fresh orange juice, and one apple.
Snack: A banana.
Lunch: Two slices of bread with 80 grams of tuna, a tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise, and 120 grams of green salad.
Snack: 1 orange.
Dinner: 90 grams of chicken breast cooked in 1 tablespoon of oil, 75 grams of broccoli, and 75 grams of carrots; serve it with 190 grams of brown rice.
Breakfast: 95 grams of oatmeal, 250 ml skim milk, 80 grams of raspberry, 120 ml orange juice.
Snack: A medium banana.
Lunch: Two slices of whole bread with 90 grams of lean turkey, 50 grams of low-fat cheese, 40 grams of green salad, and 40 grams of cherry tomatoes.
Snack: Five whole-grain crackers, 50 grams of cottage cheese, and 80 grams of pineapples.
Dinner: 85 grams of pork fillet, 150 grams of mixed vegetables, and 180 grams of brown rice.
Breakfast: 95 grams of oatmeal, 240 grams of skim milk, 85 grams of blueberries, and 120 ml of fresh orange juice.
Snack: A big banana
Lunch: Make a salad with 120 grilled tuna, a boiled egg, 150 grams of green salad, 40 grams of cherry tomatoes, and 30 ml of low-fat dressing.
Snack: 30 grams of canned pears, one low-fat yogurt.
Dinner: 180 grams of cod fillet, 200 grams of mashed potatoes, 80 grams of green peas, and 80 grams broccoli.
Breakfast: Two slices of toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, one medium banana, 15 grams of mixed seeds, and 120 ml of fresh orange juice.
Snack: One apple.
Lunch: 90 grams of grilled chicken, 150 grams of roasted vegetables, and 180 grams of pasta.
Snack: A cup of fruit salad.
Dinner: Spaghetti with meatballs made with 200 grams of spaghetti, 120 grams of minced turkey, and 80 grams of green peas on the side.
Breakfast: Two boiled eggs, 2 slices of turkey bacon, 40 grams of tomatoes, 80 grams baked beans, 2 slices of toast, and 120 ml of fresh orange juice.
Snack: 30 grams of mixed berries and low-fat yogurt.
Lunch: Two slices of whole-wheat toast, a tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise, 50 grams of low-fat cheese, 40 grams of green salad, and 40 grams of cherry tomatoes.
Snack: One big apple.
Dinner: 90 grams of roast beef, 150 grams of boiled potatoes, 80 grams of broccoli, and 80 grams of green peas.
Breakfast: 95 grams of oatmeal, 250 ml skim milk, 80 grams of blueberries, and 120 ml fresh orange juice.
Snack: One banana and 70 grams of almonds.
Lunch: Make a chicken salad with 90 grams of chicken breast, one tablespoon of mayonnaise, 150 grams of green salad, 80 grams of cherry tomatoes, 4 grams of seeds, and 5 whole-grain crackers.
Snack: A big pear.
Dinner: 95 grams of pork steak, 150 grams of ratatouille, 190 grams of brown rice, 40 grams of lentils, and 40 grams of low-fat cheese.
Dessert: you can have a low-fat chocolate pudding.
The Versatility Of The DASH Diet
Since this DASH diet is not limited to certain foods, you can make any diet more like a DASH diet. Just follow these few guidelines:
- Opt for low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
- Consume more vegetables and fruits.
- Prepare your food with vegetable oils only.
- Replace the refined grains with whole grains.
- Select lean protein sources like chicken, fish, beans, turkey.
- Restrict foods that are high in saturated fats like oils, fatty meats, and full-fat dairy products.
- Limit any foods that are high in added sugar such as candies or sodas.
That’s it! You can make any diet DASH-ready if you also follow these simple “rules”.
As you can see, it’s not that hard to regulate your blood pressure. You just have to eat the right foods. And you might even end up losing a few pounds during the process too.
The DASH diet is designed to help regulate high blood pressure, but it also promotes a healthy lifestyle that gets you fit and healthy.
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