The DASH Diet for Healthy Living

What is the dash diet and why doctors call it one of the best diets?

Doctors say that this diet is the most effective way to improve your overall condition. According to the National Institute of Health, it scored a 3.4 out of 5 in the weight loss effectiveness category and 4.5 out of 5 in healthy usefulness. Out of 40 diets evaluated it was chosen #1. So who is this all-star? It’s something called the dash diet.

The dash diet is an easy safe and useful plan that can help you feel better and get rid of excess weight. You can lose weight gradually. No starving or yo-yo dieting. It won’t shock or stress your body out. Dash stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It’s a diet developed specifically to reduce blood pressure in those with hypertension. What scientists understood later on that this diet results tons of other health issues. It reduces cholesterol, prevent stroke and heart failure and brings weight down to a healthy level, even for those with obesity plus it’s considered the best diet to prevent diabetes. Besides controlling blood pressure people following it managed to improve insulin resistance.

What’s it all about?

The dash diet balances all the necessary nutrients and minerals like calcium, potassium, protein and fibre that are responsible for brain and overall organ function. It improves the condition of your hair and skin as well. What’s convenient about this diet is that you don’t have to calculate and monitor each nutrient. You just need to reduce your salt intake and eat certain recommended foods, for instance fruits, vegetables, grains, protein rich foods and dairy products. Compared to trendy crash diets, dash is different. This is a complete lifestyle change. It’s for people who need to take care of their eating habits throughout their lives. There’s no cutting out or starving involved. You can have all sorts of tasty dishes.

  1. You just need to keep in mind a few general rules. It’s not about the quantity of the food as much as it is about the quality
  2. Drink 67 ounces of fluids per day. Ideally it should be still water or green tea. Just limit the tea to no more than 4 cups a day
  3. Try to eat 5 times per day. One serving should be no more than 8.8 ounces so it’s basically better to have smaller portions but eat more often
  4. Limit your daily calorie intake. it should be around 2,000 to 2,500 a day
  5. If you have a sweet tooth you’ll need to control yourself. You don’t have to stop eating sweet foods completely just no more than 5 times a week
  6. Try to eat more cereals seeds beans lean meats and vegetables
  7. You should avoid drinking soda or alcohol. This is because too much alcohol elevates your blood pressure plus it harms your liver heart and brain
  8. Limit your snacks to no more than eight per day in between meals but have a bite only if you’re really hungry not bored
  9. Remember that tobacco use is prohibited
  10. Reduce your salt intake to a maximum of 2 to 3 teaspoons a day
  11. Your diet should include whole wheat bread
  12. Exclude smoked or fatty foods pickles pastries and canned fish or meat.

What you can eat?

According to the dash principle to come up with a proper diet plan you should keep in mind your goals. Do you want to lose weight or become healthier. If you want to slim down, your menu should contain fewer calories. In other words you need to reduce the size of your servings. For anyone on the dash diet you can have the following.

  1. Cereals no more than seven servings per day. For example, one serving should be a slice of bread half a cup of cooked pasta or half a cup of oatmeal for example
  2. Fruit no more than five servings a day. This could be one fruit, 1/4 cup of dried fruits or half a cup of juice
  3. Vegetables 5 servings in a day, half a cup of steamed vegetables could be a serving
  4. Nonfat dairy products two to three servings per day. For instance, 1.8 ounces of cheese or 5 ounces of milk would do just fine
  5. Seeds, beans and nuts 5 servings a week. One serving is 1.4 ounces
  6. Animal and vegetable fats. 3 servings per day. This could be 1 teaspoon of olive or linseed oil
  7. Sweet dishes no more than 5 times a week. A teaspoon of honey or jam is okay
  8. Fluids dash again 67 ounces per day water is preferred but green tea and juice are fine too
  9. Protein 7 ounces of lean meat fish or eggs a day is ideal

What to avoid?

Of course, it is a diet and lifestyle change so you’ll have to avoid all the typical unhealthy products
fast food and chips, smoked and canned food, salami, sausage, fatty meat, candy, cookies and other sweets soft drinks because our bodies form a dependency to junk food. You can eliminate harmful products little by little. Don’t try to go cold turkey. You’re only setting yourself up for failure. Take baby steps over time your cravings will disappear.

How to plan your diet?

You can create your own menu by taking into consideration the diets rules in incorporating the products you’re allowed to eat. you don’t have to do anything special to create your diet plan. you just need to include the necessary products and gradually exclude the bad ones. if your goal is to lose weight, cut the amount of recommended servings. you can also find all kinds of tasty dash approved dishes on the internet and abundance of recipes for appetizers and drinks main dishes and even desserts can be found there once you look for them.

Weight lost benefits

The dash diet wasn’t originally designed for weight loss but there have been some studies proving that this eating plan can help people get rid of unwanted pounds. in a 2006, study researchers divided 810 adults with borderline to mild hypertension into 3 groups. the first group was given some general advice on how to change their lifestyles so that they could get their blood pressure under control. the second group were given instructions to keep their sodium intake under 2,300 milligrams a day exercise and limit their alcohol consumption. people in the third group had to follow the same directions as those from the second group but also eat according to the dash guidelines. after a year and a half people from the second group became approximately eight pounds lighter while those from the dash group lost an average of nine and a half pounds and these results were significantly better than the results of the first group who managed to drop only three pounds on average.

Is it easy to follow the dash eating plan?

First let’s consult with the experts. According to those numbers from the National Institute of Health we mentioned earlier, dash scored a 3.4 out of 5 in the category of easiness to follow but of course we’re only human. It’ll be a bit hard to say no to your favourite salty sugary or fatty drinks. Otherwise this diet doesn’t restrict you from entire food groups. There are tons of recipe options out there, so you’ll definitely find something suited to your taste. Get ready to experience some difficulties going out. Most restaurants serve huge portions of salty or fatty foods, so when you go out to eat opt for fruits and vegetables and avoid soups. Also ask the chef not to season your meal. As for alcohol, you can’t allow yourself a bit every now and then but remember that you still have to limit yourself. For the ladies that’s no more than one drink a day. Men shouldn’t have more than two per day. What’s considered a drink, that’s 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of liquor or 12 ounces of beer. A nice feature of this diet is that you never feel hungry. The main idea is to have a satisfied feeling of fullness. Remember no starvation. Yes, it might be hard to live without chips, pickles or cookies at first but your palate will adjust plus your meals won’t taste bland if you add some spices and herbs.

Have you ever tried the dash diet? If so how did you like it tell us in the comments below.

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