The DASH Diet is said to help people lower their blood pressure, lose inches of their waistline, and even prevent diabetes.
But what’s this new eating plan all about? And who designed it? Let’s take a closer look.
What is the DASH Diet?
The DASH diet – or Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension – is an eating plan devised by the US-based National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
It’s been voted the Best Overall Diet in the United States for eight years in a row, and is designed primarily to lower blood pressure.
The added benefits reported by many DASH dieters are inches off the waistline and a reduced risk of diabetes.
The diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, and was created after researchers noticed that high blood pressure was less common in people who followed a plant-based diet.
DASH is also low in salt, red meat, added sugars and fat, but does not eliminate them entirely.
What are the benefits of the DASH diet?
As well as weight loss and lowered blood pressure, it has been claimed that the DASH diet reduces the risk of cancers like colorectal and breast cancer.
As the diet is low in salt, it helps to reduce blood pressure – however, it is wise to keep in mind that a decrease in blood pressure does not always translate to a decreased risk of heart disease.
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you will most likely also have been advised to lose weight, as excess pounds can cause strain on the heart.
A study found that those who have lost weight on the DASH diet have been in a controlled calorie deficit — meaning they were told to eat fewer calories than they were expending.
Given that the DASH diet cuts out a lot of high-fat, sugary foods, people may find that they automatically reduce their calorie intake and lose weight.
Researchers claim the diet also lowers an individual’s risk of developing type two diabetes, as well as the risk of metabolic syndrome.
What can you eat on the DASH diet?
The DASH diet recommends the following for eating on a daily basis:
- 6-8 servings of whole grains: A serving size is about one slice of bread, 1 ounce of dry cereal or 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta
- 4-5 servings of vegetables: A serving size is about 1 cup of raw, leafy vegetable or a 1/2 cup of cut-up raw or cooked vegetables:
- 4-5 servings of fruit: A serving size is about one medium fruit; 1/4 cup of dried fruit; 1/2 cup of fresh, frozen or canned fruit; or 1/2 cup of real fruit juice.
- 2-3 servings of fat-free or low-fat yoghurt: A serving size is about 1 cup of milk or yogurt or 1 1/2 ounces of cheese
- Less than 6 servings of lean meat, poultry and fish: A serving size is about 1 ounce of cooked meat, poultry, or fish, or one egg.
- 2-3 servings of fats and oils: A serving size is about 1 teaspoon of soft margarine, 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise or 2 tablespoons of salad dressing.
The DASH diet also recommends 4-5 servings of nuts, seeds and legumes each week, and less than 5 servings of sweets in a week.
A serving size of nuts seeds and legumes is about 1/3 cup or 1 1/2 ounces of nuts, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 2 tablespoons or 1/2 ounce of seeds, 1/2 cup of cooked, dry beans or peas.
A serving size of sweet treats is about 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of jelly or jam, 1/2 cup of sorbet or gelatine or 1 cup of lemonade.
What is a recommended meal plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
- 1 cup (90g) of oatmeal with 1 cup (240ml) skim milk, 1/2 cup (75g) blueberries and 1/2 cup (120ml) fresh orange juice
- 2 slices of whole-wheat toast with 1 teaspoon (4.5g) margarine, 1 tablespoon (20g) jelly or jam, 1/2 cup (120ml) fresh orange juice and 1 medium apple.
- 2 boiled eggs, 2 slices turkey bacon with 1/2 cup (38g) cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup (80g) baked beans and 2 slices whole-wheat toast, plus 1/2 cup (120ml) fresh orange juice
- 1 whole-wheat bagel with 2 tablespoons peanut butter (no salt added), 1 medium orange, 1 cup fat-free milk and decaffeinated coffee
- Tuna and mayonnaise sandwich made with 2 slices of whole-grain bread, 1 tablespoon (15g) mayonnaise, 1.5 cups (113g) green salad and 3oz (80g) canned tuna
- 3 oz (85g) lean chicken breast with 2 cups (150 grams) of green salad, 1.5 ounces (45g) low-fat cheese and 1 cup (190g) brown rice
- 2 slices whole-wheat bread, 3oz (85g) lean turkey, 1.5oz (45g) low-fat cheese, 1/2 cup (38g) green salad and 1/2 cup (38g) cherry tomatoes
- Salad made with 4.5oz (130g) grilled tuna, 1 boiled egg, 2 cups (152g) green salad, 1/2 cup (38g) cherry tomatoes and 2 tablespoons (30ml) low-fat dressing
- 3oz (85g) lean chicken breast cooked in 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil with 1/2 cup (75g) each of broccoli and carrots, served with 1 cup (190g) brown rice
- 3oz (85g) salmon cooked in 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil with 1 cup (300g) boiled potatoes and 1.5 cups (225g) boiled vegetables
- 6oz (170g) cod fillet, 1 cup (200g) mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup (75g) green peas and 1/2 cup (75g) broccoli
- Spaghetti and meatballs made with 1 cup (190g) spaghetti and 4oz (115g) minced turkey, add 1/2 cup (75g) green peas on the side
Read more stories like this: Why this dietitian wants you to ditch the keto diet. Plus, This one diet may lower depression.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was republished here with permission.