The DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet was initially used as a method of nutrition for people with high blood pressure. Since it proved very successful in losing weight too, the DASH diet also found its place among the reduction diets.
The DASH diet is rich in dairy products with reduced fat milk, fruit and vegetables and its ingredients help reduce the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure), which was confirmed by numerous studies.
The DASH diet is characterized as a diet with diverse choices of foods and therefore is a good choice for those troubled by the monotony of their meals while dieting.
Although initially designed for people with hypertension, it is a good choice for the whole family.
The most important characteristic of this diet is intake of proteins from chicken, turkey, fish, seafood (you should limit eating seafood due to high amounts of cholesterol in them), non-fat cheeses, eggs (especially egg whites, since the yolk is rich in cholesterol). It is also important to consume legumes, soy and soy products.
Fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products should be consumed daily. Milk and dairy products (yogurt, kefir, sour milk) should be low fat (reduced calories) and it is recommended to take 3-4 servings per day.
Fruits and vegetables should be consumed mostly fresh because they contain the highest amount of vitamins while they are fresh. It is possible to consume sugar free compotes and dry fruits like plums, apricots and figs. It is recommended to eat 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables and 7-8 servings of grains.
It is better to consume whole grains than refined and the basis of this food segment should be rice, pasta and whole-grain bread. It is recommended to consume other grains such as oats, barley, millet, corn grits, etc.
For breakfast it is recommended to eat cereal served with fresh fruit and low fat milk, and for lunch and dinner you can find a myriad of variants that include whole grains, fish or meat served with vegetables such as cauliflower, carrots, broccoli or chard and lettuce. You may also like to eat legumes such as lentils, beans, soy or chickpea.
One of the benefits of legumes, grains and vegetables is the fact that they are rich in dietary fibers, which speed up the digestion, reduce high cholesterol levels and thus contribute to weight loss process.
It has already been mentioned that seafood is great for protein intake. However, we should be careful since they contain high levels of cholesterol (on the other hand they do not contain a lot of saturated fatty acids).
Given that the DASH diet was created primarily for people with high blood pressure (which is often accompanied by elevated cholesterol), it is recommended to consume seafood 2 (and not more than 3) times a week.
Lean meat and poultry should also be consumed up to 3 servings a week. Sweets and desserts are allowed but they should consist of sugar free compotes, puddings and fruit yoghurt with low fat milk.
As you must have noticed, there are three main meals during the day (breakfast, lunch, dinner), and if between these meals you have a strong sense of hunger, you can help yourself with snacks such as fruits, vegetables, nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts), or integral biscuits.
In your nutrition (not only diet), you should take into account the intake of sodium or salt since it has an important impact on our body. Therefore, researchers have created an additional study, DASH – Sodium study, which examined the effect of sodium on blood pressure.
Based on these findings, it has been proven that reducing sodium intake lowers blood pressure, especially when diets low in sodium (less salt) are combined with the DASH program. Salt intake should be limited to a maximum of 2.5 to 5 grams a day, or half to one teaspoon a day.
Breakfast: sugar free cereal with low fat milk and fresh fruit
Snack: nuts (5 pieces)
Lunch: stewed beans with carrots, onions and without roux, roasted turkey breasts, with very little salt
Snack: fruit of your choice
Dinner: cottage cheese with chive, a slice of bread, tomato salad, with a minimum of salt
The DASH diet plan is complete, healthy and realistic to maintain. This diet is based on scientific evidence of food quality and impact of certain foods on the body.
This helps people to introduce a healthy lifestyle, prevent high blood pressure and lose weight. It is possible to lose one pound weekly, which is highly recommended and considered optimal.