Food

Everything You Need To Know About the DASH Diet

The DASH diet is an eating pattern developed by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in the United States. DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was created specially for those suffering from high blood pressure with the aim of preventing and controlling their condition.

What do you eat?

dash diet

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Following the DASH diet requires you to consume lots of grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Examples of the food you’ll be eating include: chicken breast meat, beans, nuts, fruits, and skim milk. Here’s a simple breakdown on the types of food you should eat each day:

  • 6-8 servings of grains
  • 4-5 servings of vegetables, fruits, and nuts each
  • 2-3 servings of dairy and fats/oil each

What can’t you eat?

junk food

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You’re advised to avoid salted nuts, cheese, and sugary beverages. It might be a good idea to avoid pastries as well to decrease the level of sodium consumption. The idea is to avoid food that causes hypertension, such as those high in salt, sugar, and processed food.  There’s also a limit on how much meat and sugar you can have each week:

  • Less than 6 servings of chicken, meat, and fish
  • Less than 5 servings of sugar

Does it work?

hypertension

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The DASH diet has been ranked as the Best Diet Overall by the US News and World Report for eight times in a row. Research shows that it managed to lower a person’s blood pressure, which was the diet’s main aim. While it’s not designed to help you lose weight, there’s a possibility that you might experience minimal weight loss as it encourages healthy eating.

Is this the diet for you?

eating dash diet

(Image: Stacy Rody)

It’s said that the DASH diet is quite flexible, so it’s suitable for almost anyone. You can replace dairy and certain grains if you’re lactose intolerant or on a non-gluten diet. Food substitutes are fine as long as they’re not high in sodium, sugar, and fats.

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