In this diet-obsessed world, there are many diets popping up here and there. Some of them work, and some of them don’t. Here’s one of the diets that have been around for quite some time, but you don’t see a lot of people raving on their social media accounts about this diet. It’s called the DASH diet. And we’re here to educate you a bit about this great healthy living factor.
According to the US News and World Report magazine, the DASH diet is listed as the number one diet overall. And it’s been at that spot for seven years in a row. Just that fact is enough to pique your interest about this diet, am I right?
So What Is the DASH Diet?
DASH stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension. Thus, the DASH diet. It was originally created to help people lower their blood pressure and cholesterol levels without the use of medication. To do this, it focuses on a combination of low-sodium, low-fat, and plant-based meals. Eventually, tweaks were made, and the diet is now also used in helping people lose weight and to aid in diabetes.
There are many reasons why people choose the DASH diet to be the best diet overall. For one, it’s very easy to follow. Also, it has the ability to produce obvious short-term and long-term weight loss. It boasts of providing the body with plenty of essential nutrients, making it nutritionally complete. Finally, it is completely safe and has the full support of the scientific community. The DASH diet has plenty of scientific research under its belt.
How Does It Work?
With the DASH diet, the goal is to shed those excess pounds off and live an overall healthy life. You still get to eat three filling meals a day (and snacks!). You don’t have to starve yourself.
The DASH diet focuses on using vegetables as the main course in your meals along with protein-rich food. You also add in fruits, some dairy, nuts, beans, and seeds.
Basically, the diet pattern is based on a 2,000 calorie diet and goes like this:
Grains and grain products – 6 to 8 servings
Fruits – 4 to 5 servings
Vegetables – 4 to 5 servings
Low-fat or nonfat dairy – 2 to 3 servings
Lean meats, fish, or poultry – 6 servings or less
Nuts, seeds, legumes – 4 to 5 servings a week
Fats and sweets – limited
Alcohol – at least 1 glass of red wine a day for women, 2 glasses a day for men
Adhering to this diet means a great reduction in the consumption of salt. The sodium intake is a recommended 1,500 mg–2,300 mg per day. This depends on your current or past health conditions, age, and race.
Being active and doing proper exercise while going through the diet also helps. Hand in hand with the diet, this ensures you properly manage your weight. This also ensures that overweight and obesity are a long way off.
The DASH Diet Benefits
The original DASH diet was a healthy eating plan rich in fruits and vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy, and a healthy helping of nuts, beans, and seeds. Recently, research and studies were made in order to improve the diet. There was a cut of the “empty carbs” and an addition of more protein and heart-healthy fats. The results and benefits were even better.
Better Eating Habits
The DASH diet gives you the chance to explore the wide spectrum of food choices. You get to choose which foods work for you, and you can set your own meal plan. This means you are more aware of different types of foods and how they can impact the human body.
Going on this diet gets rid of your hunger pangs and reduces calorie intake. This is because it focuses more on eating fruits, vegetables, and lean meat. It also encourages the cutting back on food high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. It also makes sure you limit sodium, sweets, and red meats. All these guarantees safe and healthy weight loss.
Since all the foods you eat in the DASH diet are unarguably chock-full of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants, all these prevent the bad effects free radicals can bring to the body. These free radicals are responsible for the cell mutation of healthy cells that lead to the growth and spread of cancer.
Since there is a limit to the sweets that you can consume in this diet, you easily avoid the simple sugars that the body absorbs and sends to the bloodstream. Having too much sugar interferes with the body’s glucose and insulin levels. This disruption leads to diabetes.
Also, the fiber found in the whole grains also aids in stopping diabetes in its tracks.
The food you take on this diet contains potassium, calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients that play a role in lowering high blood pressure. The fiber content from the whole grains also helps in decreasing cholesterol.
Also, this particular diet ensures that you don’t take in too much salt. A high amount of sodium in the body can cause fluid and plaque buildup, which puts extra strain and pressure on the heart. All this lowers the risk of all kinds of heart problems. Some examples are atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attacks.
In the DASH diet, the foods it uses boasts of a high content of calcium, protein, and potassium. These three nutrients are vital for the prevention or slowing down of osteoporosis. The food in the diet helps build strong bones. Also, since the diet avoids the consumption of processed food, there is optimal intake of these bone-beneficial nutrients.
Studies also show that this particular diet significantly reduces bone turnover. If this continues, it also improves bone mineral status and bone metabolism.
Studies show that the DASH diet is directly linked to the prevention of kidney stones. These stones can be very painful. They also interfere with the proper function of the kidneys.
So how does the diet help in avoiding kidney stones? Because of its control in sodium intake. High amounts of sodium is a common factor that leads to kidney failure. It dehydrates the body and thus overworks the kidneys. In addition, the diet prevents the excess deposits of minerals that lead to kidney stones.
Following the DASH diet is very effective against kidney stones that the National Kidney Foundation highly recommends this diet for those with a high risk of kidney failure.