According to the U.S. News and World Report, the Dash diet has been chosen as the best diet in the U.S. for the fifth year in a row. Initially, the Dash diet was developed to fight high blood pressure. It is a safe and easy way to follow a diet plan to fight diseases and lose weight.
Maybe you want to incorporate the Dash diet into your daily meals but you are not sure how to start. Here are some ways you can get started:
- Emphasize vegetables, fruits, and fat-free dairy products.
- Limit and avoid sodium, sweets, sugary beverages, and red meat.
- Make eating whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils a priority.
What Is Dash?
Dash is a diet that emphasizes food items low in saturated and trans fats and rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, protein, and fiber. Hence, the salt intake is lower as compared to the normal American diet. There are two types of Dash diets:
The Standard Dash
Research shows an eating plan that includes 2,300 mg of sodium per day helps lower blood pressure.
The Lower Dash
An eating plan containing 1,500 mg of sodium has an even more profound impact on blood pressure.
What to Eat in Dash
The Dash diet suggests that you consume 30 g of fiber, 500 mg of magnesium, 1,250 mg of calcium, 4,700 mg of potassium, 2,300 mg of sodium, 150 mg of cholesterol, 55 percent calories of carbohydrate, 18 percent calories of protein, 6 percent calories of saturated fats, and 27 percent calories of total fat on a daily basis.
Try to include six to eight servings of whole grains in your meals. Whole grains are rich in fiber and have more nutrients than refined grains. One slice of whole wheat bread, 1 oz. dry cereal, or ½ cup of cooked whole grain rice or pasta equals one serving.
Include four to five servings of vegetables in your meals daily. An example of one serving of vegetables is ½ cup of cooked or raw, leafy green vegetables.
Add four to five servings of fruit in a day. Half a cup of fresh or canned fruit or 4 oz. juice is equal to one serving. Try to eat fresh fruits, as the rich nutrients of fruits die when preservatives are added in canned fruits.
Put in two to three daily servings of dairy. An example of one serving is one cup 1-percent or skim milk, 1 cup yogurt, or 1½ oz. cheese.
Poultry, Meat, and Fish Servings
Add six or fewer servings of animal protein daily. This can be 1 oz. skinless poultry, seafood, or lean meat.
Nuts, Beans, and Legumes
Add four to five servings a week of nuts and beans. An example of one serving would be ½ cup nuts, two tbsp. seeds, or ½ cup cooked beans or peas.
Fats and Oil Serving
Add two to three servings a day. An example of one serving can include one tsp. soft margarine, one tbsp. mayonnaise, or two tbsp. salad dressing.
Add five or fewer servings a week of sweets. Example of one serving may include one tbsp. sugar, ½ cup sorbet, or 1 oz. lemonade.
Alcohol and Caffeine in Dash
Alcohol can cause the blood pressure to rise. The Dash diet recommends men should drink a maximum of two glasses of alcohol, and women one glass, in a day. This is also the standard recommended by the USDA. If you already have hypertension, caffeine can temporarily aggravate it. It is advised to discuss with your doctor the effects of caffeine on your blood pressure.