Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is an incredible diet plan, promoted by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for patients with hypertension, to lower their blood pressure.
Through its wisely chosen food items, the diet plan relieves the patients suffering from high blood pressure and heart problems. Food Items in the diet plan are low in sodium and rich in various nutrients such as potassium, calcium, vitamins etc.
Apart from saving your body from high blood pressure, DASH diet also sheds several unsolicited pounds from your body. Since the exclusive plan discourages the formation of triglyceride fats inside your body, your cholesterol level and weight are bound to come in control.
Why DASH Diet Came into Existence?
Now the question arises, when there are so many diet plans already available then why DASH diet came into existence. And the answer is, due to sedentary lifestyle, environmental pollution, and wrong eating habits prevalent among Americans, the ratio of people suffering from high blood pressure, heart attack, heart stroke, kidney problems etc. have drastically amplified over past few years.
On the recommendation and funding of NIH (National Institute of Health), joint efforts were made by scientists, doctors, nurses, and dietitians which lead to the formation of this magnificent diet plan. DASH diet plan has been devised to cure ever increasing cases of high BP.
What is DASH Diet Plan?
DASH diet plan will incorporate healthy foods into the mainstream of your routine life and will educate you about the disastrous effects of junk foods. Based on scientific facts and theories, the diet plan can be followed by people of all the age groups.
Despite having perfect health and figure, you should make DASH diet plan an indispensable part of your life only to secure a healthy and disease-free life forever. Myriad varieties of meal plans offered by the diet program bestows you liberty to pick your meal plan as per your comfort.
Having already assisted numerous people in reducing their high BP, the daily calorie intake allowed in the diet plan varies from 1699 to 3100 calories. The best part of DASH diet is that you can cherish a healthy life without abolishing your beloved foods. You only have to make little changes in your routine food items.
Two Versions of DASH Diet
Low sodium diet contains plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, nuts, and seeds. There are two versions of DASH Diet, you can choose the one which suits you the best.
Standard DASH Diet – You are allowed to consume 2300 mg of sodium in standard DASH diet.
Lower Sodium DASH Diet – You are allowed to consume mere 1500 mg of sodium in lower sodium DASH diet.
The diet plan has taken the recommendations of dietary guidelines for Americans and has kept the sodium intake less than 2300 mg.
Recommended Food Items of DASH Diet
Dash diet plan has recommended following food items –
Instead of selecting processed grains, adhere to whole grains such as cereals, rice, pasta etc. Apart from being highly fibrous, whole grains also contain more nutrients than processed grains. For instance, swap white rice with brown rice and regular pasta with whole-wheat pasta.
Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, tomatoes, broccoli, and other dark green and leafy vegetables are opulent in fiber, vitamins, calcium, and minerals such as magnesium and potassium. Inculcate vegetables in your routine life to nourish your body.
You can use them as salad or can also spice up your foods with them. Along-with taste, you will also get healthy food. You can also favor picking frozen vegetables but be wary while checking their contents. They should be low in sodium and should not have salt added into them. You are free to mold the salad according to your personal flavor. For instance, you can spread pieces of meats on vegetable salad to keep you full for longer.
Just like vegetables, fruits too are low in fat, high in fiber, and opulent in various minerals. You can relish fruits in the form of snacks, or also can use them as desserts at the end of your meals. The peels of various fruits such as pears, apples etc. can be used for garnishing food items. You inevitably can amplify the nutrition value of your food to a great extent with their use.
Milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products are rich in calcium, protein, and vitamin D. However, be very prudent while making their selection for they might be rich in saturated fat. Prefer having frozen low-fat yogurt in your diet. You can also add fruits and vegetables into it to enhance its flavor. Try to avoid cheese because they typically are high in sodium. Some of you might be intolerant to lactose, you can swap lactose with products having enzyme named lactase.
Fish, Lean Meat and Poultry
Meats are rich sources of vitamin B, iron, protein, and zinc. However, you need to avoid fat and cholesterol in them. You can strip off fats and skin from the meat to avoid unhealthy fats. And instead of frying meat, prefer boiling, roasting, or grilling the meat. Cold fishes such as tuna, salmon, and herring being superb sources of omega-3 fatty acids are effective in reducing your increased cholesterol level.
Nuts and Seeds, Legumes
Kidney beans, almonds, peas, sunflower seeds, lentils etc. are rich sources of protein, potassium, and magnesium. They are also rich in fiber and phytochemicals, which are effective in curing cancer and cardio diseases.
Besides containing monounstaturated fats, they are also opulent source of omega-3. You can spread them over your salad and can use them as an ingredient of your meal. Soybean products such as tempeh and tofu can be nice replacements of meat. They contain all kinds of amino acids required for the formation of proteins in your body.
Fats and Oils
Healthy and unsaturated fat is vital for your body, for they accelerate the functioning of your immune system and assist your body in absorbing essential vitamins. Saturated fats being unhealthy for your body raise your blood cholesterol level and blood pressure. By maintaining distance from baked goods, crackers, and fried items, you can save you from the sinister fat.