Whenever it comes to organic treatment of all health problems related to high blood pressure, or fluid buildup in the body, the DASH diet is the best solution. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is a program which emphasizes on the diet as well as lifestyle changes. The program teaches you how to reduce the sodium content of your diet directly or indirectly. By the direct method you will be advised to omit table salt in your meals By indirect means you are advised to reduce the intake of sodium through other ingredients. This health and diet article will discuss all you need to know about DASH diet; ranging from its history, how the diet plan works, its benefits, how it promotes weight loss, the diet guidelines, recommended and prohibited foods, etc.
Sodium and Potassium are the 2 minerals that counter each other when it comes to fluid balance in the body. A high sodium diet elevates the systolic and diastolic blood pressures which may heart failure.
DASH diet is therefore the special dietary plan recommended for high blood pressure patients and those who wish to prevent it beforehand. The diet plan also prevents hypertension which usually causes high blood pressure and other ailments like diabetes, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, etc.
History of DASH Diet Plan
The diet plan was discovered in the search for a diet-focused approach to treat hypertension. With time people discovered that DASH diet plan was also efficient in controlling and even treating obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cardiac disorders.
In order to confirm the impact of sodium in blood pressure, 3 groups of scientist performed experiments using various food samples and various grams of sodium. At the end of the research, it was confirmed that 1500 mg of sodium per day is the threshold amount to maintain the blood pressure.
Some Advantages of DASH Diet Plan
Apart from treatment of hypertension, below are some other benefits of the DASH diet plan.
- Helps to control blood pressure.
- Maintains cholesterol levels.
- Helps to control weight.
- Protects you from cancer.
- Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Improves your mental health.
- Reduces the risk of heart diseases.
- Reduces the risk of osteoporosis i.e. degeneration of the bones.
- Helps to keep your kidney healthy.
Why You Need to Adopt the DASH Diet Plan
- It is one of the easiest diet plans and that is why people find it very easy to switch to the feeding plan.
- The diet plan does not only focus on food, it also promotes healthy daily exercise which help to your quick positive results.
- DASH diet restricts foods that are really unhealthy and recommends the healthy ones.
- It helps you keep track of your calorific intake. This is because the calorific value of all DASH meals are pre-calculated for you.
- The diet uses a preventive strategy to achieve a cure of various diseases.
- The actual positive results of the diet plan lasts long. So long as you keep to the rules, the diseases will never reoccur.
How Weight Loss is Achieved with DASH Diet Plan
Since the diet does not allow the intake of high calorific meals, it means that there will be very few fat build-up in the body. As a result of this check, fats which usually causes obesity when the excess of it are stored in the body will be controlled.
In summary, the daily calorific intake allowed in DASH diet plan is 2000 calories. The value might slightly change depending on some factors like body size, gender, activities, etc.
DASH Diet Guidelines: Food Categories and their Serving Size
DASH diet meals are always compared to the required serving size and then added to the menu. Below are the categories of DASH diets with their serving size:
- Grains like rice, pasta, cereal, quinoa, bread, etc. – 6 to 8 servings a day
- Veggies like carrots, greens, sweet potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes, etc. – 4 to 5 servings a day
- Fruits – 4 to 5 servings a day
- Dairy Products – 2 to 3 servings a day. Note that the dairy products recommended here must be free from saturated fats or contain very low fats.
- Nuts, seeds, and legumes like all the lentils, kidney beans, peas, edibles seeds like sunflower, sesame, almonds, etc. – 4 to 5 servings a week
- Fats and oils – 2 to 3 servings a day. Also note that the fats and oils referred here are those that contain good cholesterol and plant-based fats.
- Sweets – 5 servings or fewer a week. Note that adding of little sweets is necessary because total abstinence may result to another complication.
Why Exercise is Necessary in DASH Diet Plan
Exercise is essential in any diet plan, therefore DASH diet plan is not an exception. Regular exercise promotes easy digestion, accelerated metabolism, adequate hormonal production and enzymic activities, enhanced immunity, etc.
The exercise recommended in DASH diet plan must not be as strenuous as gym and workouts. Exercises like morning walks, brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, etc. which might not even take more than 30 minutes of your time each day are healthy enough to boost your metabolism.
Recommended Caloric Intake for Adequate Weight Loss
Not just in DASH diet plan, if your aim in joining any diet plan is weight loss, then you need to pay close attention to your caloric consumption. Body size and gender strongly determine the caloric intake limit. A daily caloric intake of 1500 to 2000 calories a day is recommended for females. While that of men should be around 2000 to 2500 calories per day. Also note that the value differs for men, as they have greater energy needs due to body size.
How High Blood Pressure can be Naturally Controlled by DASH Diet
Research has proven that up to 70% of cases of high blood pressure and hypertension result from poor diet lifestyle. Whenever the average blood pressure of any adult deviate from the normal range (which is 120 mmHg to 80 mmHg), chances of hypertension become high. It has also been confirmed that the best method to control high blood pressure is proper dieting like DASH diet plan. Medications do give temporal remedy.
As advice, consult your doctor first before switching to the DASH diet. You also need to check your body weight, size, and metabolic rates.
Recommended DASH Diet Foods
- Low fat or no fat dairy products
- Beef and pork
NOTE: Always take note of the serving sizes discussed above for each food and make sure you don’t exceed its limit.
Prohibited DASH Diet Foods
The following should be avoided or taken in a very small quantity:
- Table salt
- Sugary beverages
- Salted nuts
- Processed food
- High fats dairy products
- Excessive animal-based fats
I have carefully discussed the DASH diet tips in detail. If you are new to the feeding lifestyle, you should now fully have the guidelines. Enjoy the meals following the guides in this diet article!
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