07 Oct

An Overview of the DASH Diet

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is the result of two studies developed by the US National Institutes of Health. It focuses on the lowering one’s cholesterol and blood pressure without the use of medication by lowering the amount of sodium that one takes in. High consumption of sodium has been known to cause hypertension or high blood pressure, which is a major contributing factor in strokes, aneurysms and other heart diseases. This diet has also been proved to prevent the occurrence of kidney stones, some types of cancer and diabetes.

The diet primarily revolves around food that is low in salt, cholesterol and saturated fat. It accentuates the consumption of fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Adding more fruits and vegetables to one’s diet has also proved to lower bad cholesterol which reduces the risk of heart diseases. While whole grains, poultry, and seafood are still to be consumed, red meat and sugars are to be limited.

DashDiet

Image source: http://www.drkessinger.com/Newsletters/DASH.jpg

DASH is a balanced diet that requires no special types of food or medication. The pyramid above shows the ideal distribution of food in this diet; however it is very flexible and can be adjusted to each individual’s needs.

Here are some websites which offer recipes while on the DASH diet:

http://thedashdiet.net/

http://www.dashdietoregon.org/resources/recipes

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/hbp-dash-recipes-html.htm

It is best to follow a DASH eating or meal plan while at the same time, consciously keep one’s sodium intake below 2300 mg. The DASH diet is meant to be a permanent lifestyle change and not a quick weight loss fix.

As we grow older, the risk of suffering from hypertension grows higher. This diet could be the first step in early prevention or a way for one to maintain a good blood pressure. At first it may be difficult to apply the necessary changes but slowly transitioning into the diet (yes even just one step at a time!) could bring you closer to a healthier lifestyle.

For more information visit: http://dashdiet.org/

So what do you think? Is DASH the diet for you?

 

 

Contributor/Writer: Kristianne Untal