The DASH diet is a short form for dietary approaches to stop hypertension. As evident from its name, this diet is used to prevent or stop hypertension or high blood pressure. This diet is developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
This diet put a lot of emphasis on foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. These are the foods that we have always been asked to eat since time.
These products are known to contain high pressure controlling nutrients like potassium, calcium, and fiber. Not only these, the DASH diet also recommends foods that are rich in saturated fats such as meat and dairy products and oils. This diet also allows for the consumption of sweets and sweetened beverages.
The DASH diet asks for limiting the sodium intake to 2300mg per day which will eventually be reduced to 1500 mg per day.
This is a balanced diet and there is no hard in following it for a long time and therefore it one of the most followed diets in the US.
This diet falls within the acceptable range of daily dietary recommendations for protein, carbs, and fats.
When we look at the benefits of the DASH diet, we find that this is healthy for the heart and also nutritionally stable. But on the downside, the can be sometimes expensive and requires lots of repetitive work.
How does DASH diet work?
When we start DASH diet, it does not ask for making huge changes in diet overnight. Instead of this, you can make small and manageable changes. Some of these changes are like
#1. Daily 15 minutes walk post lunch and dinner or both
#2. Having two or more meals without meat every week
#3. Consume snacks like almonds and pecans
#4. Use Whole wheat flour instead of white flour.
#5. Use more herbs and spices in food
#6. Consume one fruit or vegetable serving in every meal
Following a DASH diet can be pricey because the main components of this diet like fresh fruits, whole grains, and vegetables are generally costly than processed and canned foods.
The DASH diet if followed with strict rules and following a calorie deficit diet plan, can surely help in weight loss. Moreover, it is easy to follow this diet for the long term as there no restrictions on food groups. But you will surely have to give up on salt and favorite fatty and sugary items.
For more details on the DASH diet, you can read more about it on the publications from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. They also provide pdf files as free guides on DASH diet plans.
These guides give all the details about how many calories you need to consume depending on your age and activity levels. You can also find the sources from where you can get these calories.
The only thing to remember with this diet plan is to go on reducing the consumption of salt to get the maximum benefit.
If you are looking to lose weight following a DASH diet, then exercise should be an important daily routine. For the start, you can have a 15 minutes walk twice a day and slowly increase the time and intensity of the walk.
You can also include any other activities like swimming, gardening, etc with set goals. Make sure that you stick to your routine exercise for greater benefits of weight loss with the DASH diet.