The DASH diet is an eating plan that focuses on fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy products. Food choices also include whole grains, lean meats, nuts and beans. Many nutritionists consider the diet to be high in fiber and low or moderate in fat consumed.
The DASH diet was originally developed by an organization known as the US National Institutes of Health. It’s original purpose was to help people lower their blood pressure without resorting to pharmaceutical medication. Because of this, the plan closely follows the US National Institutes of Health guidelines for sodium content. Furthermore, the DASH diet has been shown to lower cholesterol and is an effective way to lose weight.
Numerous studies of this dies have shown that it reduces the risk of its followers contracting diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, kidney stones, and diabetes. Because of these benefits, the diet was ranked at the top of a list compiled by US News & World Report on June 7, 2011. The diet has also been recommended by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and The American Heart Association. The basics of the diet were used to formulate the National Food Pyramid.
The name of the DASH diet comes from Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, the original research study that developed and recommended the diet to lower blood pressure. This study showed that the diet was able lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and improve the insulin sensitivity of people who follow its guidelines. In general, the diet accomplishes this by providing its followers with high amounts of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. In addition, the diet promotes low-fat foods that have been associated with improving cardiovascular health.
The diet has been shown to safe for adults who already have hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and/or other cardiovascular health risks. The diet is also one of very few diets that is safe for children.
In general, the DASH diet is simply a healthy way of eating. It has been designed to meet the lifestyle, habits, and food preferences of a wide variety of people. Many people on the diet say that the food they consume is very similar to the food in the Mediterranean diet. The key components of the diet are fruits and vegetables. Followers are encouraged to eat at least six servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and use foods from this category as snacks between meals.
In addition to fruits and vegetables, followers are encouraged to eat about two or three servings a day of whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas. This increases fiber consumption and promotes weight loss as well as cardiovascular health. For protein, followers are encouraged to eat about two servings a day of lean meat such as chicken or fish. Unlike high fat “red” meat, these types of proteins provide nutrition without extra fat and carcinogens. Followers are also allowed to obtain their protein from beans and nuts, although they are cautioned to consumer these foods in moderation because of their high calorie density.
Successful followers of the DASH diet say that the eating plan is one that can be followed for life. Weight loss will take time on the eating plan, but users report being able to keep the pounds off for longer than with other plans.