- The word “diet” is a game-changing term in the fitness industry. People who are trying to lose weight or get the aesthetically pleasing picture-perfect look opt for dieting to get the ideal body. Researchers and nutritionists have come up with different types of diets for different needs like weight loss, body toning and even detoxifying the body. Restricting some foods does not just help you with attaining a beautiful body or staying in a healthy body mass index, but can also save you from taking a bunch of prescription meds for diseases. In fact, medicinal systems like Ayurveda suggest making dietary changes to manage and treat various health conditions. It is a more convenient, safer and better option, especially to manage chronic and long-standing diseases like diabetes and obesity. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet was designed as a treatment aid for managing chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol levels.
All About the DASH Diet
- The DASH diet aims at treating high blood pressure by including foods that provide nutrients and salts like magnesium, potassium and calcium that reduce blood pressure and help cut down fat. Changes in blood pressure start showing up within 2 weeks. If the diet is followed religiously for a few months, your systolic pressure can even go down by 8 to 14 points. The DASH diet sets a target of 2,000 calories per day. Following is a list of foods recommended under the DASH diet that will help you achieve the 2,000‑calorie target:
|Food Groups||Servings (daily)|
|Vegetables||4 to 5|
|Fats and oils||2 to 3|
|Grains||6 to 8|
|Fat-free or low-fat dairy products||2 to 3|
|Fish, meat and poultry||≤ 6|
|Fruits||4 to 5|
|Peas, dry beans, nuts and seeds||4 to 5 (weekly servings)|
|Sweets||5 or less (weekly servings)|
- There are two versions of the DASH diet — the standard DASH diet plan which allows you to consume about 2,300 mg sodium per day and the low-sodium DASH diet plan which allows you to consume about 1,500 mg sodium per day. The low-sodium DASH diet lowers the blood pressure further as compared to the standard DASH diet.
Pros of following the DASH diet:
- The diet plan includes no special foods, but a lot of whole grains, veggies and fruits, which makes it easy for those with a busy lifestyle to plan for meals on the go, e.g., salads, smoothies or snacks.
- Not only do the foods reach the 2,000-calorie intake effortlessly, but they also provide the body with the daily and weekly nutrient supply.
- The DASH diet is quite flexible. If you are bored of eating plain whole grains, you can combine the fruits and veggies portion of your day with the grains to make dishes like risottos or salads. Making salads using salt-free dressings, herbs, spices or lemon juice will amp up the diet plan and your palate.
Tips to remember while following the DASH diet plan:
- Cut down on foods that contain saturated and trans fats, for example, full-fat dairy foods, tropical oils like palm and coconut oils, and fatty meats.
- Skip the 4 o’clock sugar-sweetened tea or coffee. You can substitute it with a mixed fruit or greens smoothie.
- Try eating foods that are rich in fibre, calcium, protein, potassium and magnesium.
- While eating canned foods soaked in brine (salt water), rinse off the foods to get rid of the salt. Better yet, go for fresh foods.
- Check out the food labels while picking out foods for your cart. Scan through to find products with a “very low sodium” or “salt-free” tag.
- Avoid eating pickled, cured, smoked foods and foods cooked in broth or soy sauce.
- Drink water instead of juices or sodas and munch on veggies and fruits instead of cookies and chips.
Is the DASH Diet Worth a Chance?
- According to the results of a study conducted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, following the DASH diet along with increased physical activity helps lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.
- The foods included in the diet plan are potassium-rich foods, which supply you with about 4,700 mg of potassium daily. The diet also reduces sodium intake, thus helping you reduce the blood pressure.
- You may have to bid farewell to the cheese slice or the red velvet cupcake to follow the DASH diet regime. However, the diet will certainly be of great help in your fight against high cholesterol and high blood pressure. To know which version of DASH is suitable for you or to get a custom-made DASH diet plan based on your favourite food groups, have a chat with professional doctors, dietitians and nutritionists on the HealthAssure app.
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