The DASH Diet was created by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. DASH literally stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension.” This diet is based upon the hypothesis that a low sodium and high exercise diet is the best way to ensure heart health. Research conducted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation has shown that this diet can help to prevent high blood pressure, and that it can also help to lower blood pressure that is already high.
The Premise: The concept behind the DASH diet is that a diet high in vegetables, low in salt, low in saturated fat, and high in fruit will help to eliminate high blood pressure. Participants that took part in the original DASH diet plan were able to lower their blood pressure drastically within the first two weeks of following the diet. In addition, total cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels were lowered. The DASH diet is loosely based upon the recommended food guide, but this diet includes different serving measurements.
The Diet: The DASH diet includes:
- 8-10 servings of vegetables and fruit per day
- 7-8 servings of grains
- 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy
- 2-3 servings of meats and alternative meats
Also, dieters should keep salt intake to a minimal amount.This can be done by avoiding table salt and using fresh herbs and spices in place of salt while cooking.
Packaged foods should be eliminated from the diet, since they are often high in sugar and salt. On this diet, alcohol should be limited to 2 drinks or less per day. The DASH diet also includes exercising at least 45 minutes per day in order to keep weight off. The DASH diet does not encourage dieters to change their diet immediately. Instead, this diet is meant to occur one step at a time in order to help dieters get used to the DASH diet meal plan.
What to Get Excited Over: Since the DASH diet was created by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, it’s really good for your health. This diet will provide you with a completely different way of viewing food and your overall lifestyle. The results of this diet are lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure — two things that everyone can benefit from!
Things to Consider: Eliminating salt from your diet will be hard to do. However, the Heart and Stroke Foundation clearly explains how to go about this process gradually. Additionally, some people might find it very difficult to cut back on meat consumption, but this can be beneficial to your overall health.
The Verdict: Everyone should try this diet. The DASH diet is one of the best ways to get your body in shape — inside and out. Lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and a loss of weight can all be expected after trying out this diet.