DASH Diet Overview and Review
The Dash Diet is a balanced diet, designed to get an individual all of the nutrients that they need in a strict diet, with an emphasis on maintaining a reasonable and responsible salt intake.
The Dash Diet is similar to some other diets including the Mayo Clinic Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, the TLC Diet, and the Vegetarian Diet. Specifically, DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
The ultimate goal of the DASH diet is to alleviate or prevent hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Hypertension is a dangerous circulatory state which significantly increases risks associated with heart and cardiovascular health.
The DASH Diet was developed in cooperation with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and its authors simultaneously claim that the diet can improve blood pressure while also making it easier to lose weight.
What is the Theory Behind the DASH Diet?
The DASH Diet recognizes that certain nutrients are vital to preserving healthy blood pressure, and builds a diet around responsibly providing the dieter with these nutrients. The four nutrients that are considered most important in promoting heart health are fiber, protein, calcium, and potassium.
Unlike many other diets that encourage the dieter to keep track of nutrition and calorie counts, this diet focuses primarily on moderation without excessive deliberation or calorie-counting. These are the three aspects of the DASH Diet:
Eat Foods That Encourage Hypertension Sparingly -- The DASH Diet recommends limiting the intake of red meat, sweets, processed foods, and calorie-dense foods which provide little nutrition.
Eat Foods That Are Good For You and Your Heart – Foods such as lean meat, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy are encouraged. It's important to note here that this is not a vegetarian diet.
Limit Salt Intake -- Salt intake is strongly correlated with hypertension. Salt exacerbates existing high blood pressure, and may also contribute to the formation of such issues when used in excess.
You don’t have to track each one, though. Just ensure that the foods highlighted above are eaten in abundance (veggies, whole grains, fruits, low-fat dairy, and lean protein) while shunning those that we’ve unfortunately grown to love (calorie- and fat-laden sweets and red meat). Top it all off by cutting back on salt, and voilà!
The DASH Diet is an extensively researched diet plan, and there are two primary guides designed to show you how it's done. Both are produced by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. One is short and to the point, and the other is more elaborate and gets into the science and specifics of the diet.
First, the DASH Diet takes into account your activity level as well as your age to provide you with a rough gauge of how many calories you need to consume daily. Second, the guide for the diet contains an extensive list of foods that meet your nutritional needs most effectively. Third, the menu simply encourages you to limit sodium consumption.
The DASH Diet is not a complicated diet, which likely will attract many dieters looking for a no-nonsense diet plan.
On the other hand, other dieters that are looking for more direct meal-to-meal guidance may prefer a different diet plan, even if it is close to the current one described.
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