What Is The DASH Diet And Why Is It So Good For You? Eating Right To Fight High Blood Pressure And Prevent Heart Disease

Date May 30, 2018 14:08

What is the DASH diet?

If you are interested in heart-healthy eating, then you most certainly heard about the DASH diet. DASH is the abbreviation for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and it was originally designed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) as an eating plan to lower high blood pressure. But the benefits of this diet extend far beyond blood pressure control. And it's not restrictive; you can make it quite diverse, as it includes foods from every food group.

The DASH diet focuses on whole grains, vegetables, and fruits and limits salty, fatty, and sugary foods. If you choose to go on this eating plan, you’ll see your blood pressure go down in just two weeks.

READ ALSO: 7 Managable Risk Factors Of Heart Disease Or How To Keep Your Heart Healthy

What can the DASH diet do for you?

As the name implies, the DASH diet can bring down high blood pressure and prevent it in people who don’t yet have it. The diet is also helpful with the following:

  • diabetes;
  • heart disease;
  • obesity;
  • kidney disease;
  • depression.

Eating in line with the DASH diet can help prevent the conditions mentioned above and lower the risk of complications in people who already have them.

READ ALSO: Keeping Your Heart Healthy With Diet: 9 Foods That Can Help Protect Your Heart From Dangerous Conditions

A few DASH diet tips

DASH diet is endorsed by the leading health organizations and research institutions as the best diet to maintain heart health. If you decide to go on the DASH diet (or if your doctor tells you to), you’ll have to do the following:

  • eat the amount of calories recommended for your age, gender, and activity level;
  • limit the amount of sodium in your diet to less than 2,300 mg daily (1,500 mg for extended benefits);
  • limit the amount of saturated fats and trans fats (found in baked goods) to a minimum;
  • limit the amount of added sugar;
  • choose skim or low-fat milk and dairy products over full-fat ones;
  • eat more whole grains and less refined grains;
  • eat fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, not canned ones.

These tips will help you follow through with your new eating plan:

  • carefully study the labels of foods you buy; avoid high-sodium, high-fat, and high-sugar products;
  • request your food to be cooked with less or no salt when you eat out;
  • add less salt when cooking at home; flavor your meals with herbs and spices instead;
  • keep track of what you eat throughout the day by recording it in a food journal or using an app;
  • if you don’t have the time to cook healthy meals every day, prepare food you can eat for several days in advance;
  • pack your lunches at home to eat at work.

If you want to get a sense of what eating on the DASH diet would be like, have a look at sample menus offered by Mayo Clinic. To learn more about the eating plan and its benefits, get info from the institution that created it.

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In addition to following the DASH diet, make other lifestyle changes to keep your heart healthy, lower your blood pressure, and reduce associated risks:

  • exercise regularly;
  • don’t smoke;
  • cut out alcohol;
  • reduce stress in your life.

Source: NHLBI, Mayo Clinic, WebMD

READ ALSO: 9 Tips To Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally And Prevent Heart Disease

This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.