The DASH Diet is the No 1 Diet for Heart Health, say health experts!

The DASH Diet is the No 1 Diet for Heart Health, say health experts!

19-05-2018   |   Posted By: Chhavi   |   1028 View(s)

Eating healthy is the key to weight loss, but how to know which diet plan is the best? Well, fortunately, we now know the best diet for weight loss and heart health. New annual rankings from U.S News & World Report revealed that the best diets for 2018 is a tie, with the DASH diet and Mediterranean Diet in the first place. U.S News & World Report put together a panel of food & health experts to rank 40 diets on a range of measures, like how convenient it is to follow, the diet’s efficiency to help a person shed pounds in the short and long term, safety and more. The report claims DASH diet to be the best for weight loss and heart health. So, let us explore more about this no 1 diet in this blog.

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What is the DASH Diet?

Do you know what DASH means? DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This is a simple diet designed to help people control high blood pressure. People on this diet are told to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein. They are also asked to avoid sugary beverages, sweets, full-fat dairy, saturated fat, and some oils.

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This diet focuses on controlling portion size, eating a variety of foods and getting the right amount of nutrients. This diet helps people lower blood pressure level in just two weeks. Over time, the systolic blood pressure could also drop by eight to 14 points, which can reduce the chance of developing health diseases.

The DASH Diet

DASH diet does more than just controlling high blood pressure. It also helps to prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

The DASH diet program recommends that people consume no more than 2300 mg of sodium per day. There are 2 versions of the DASH diet that meets your health needs:

Standard DASH diet – You can consume up to 2,300 mg of sodium per day.

Lower sodium DASH diet – You can consume up to 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

Both the types of the DASH diet aim to reduce the amount of sodium in the diet. The American Heart Association recommends that all adults must consume up to 1,500 mg of sodium a day. If you do not know what sodium level is right for you, consult your doctor and then start this diet plan.

How the Dash Diet Lowers Blood Pressure?

When the heart beats, it pumps blood around the body to give the oxygen and energy it needs. As the blood moves in the body, it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure. If blood pressure is too high, it puts a lot of strain on the arteries and heart, and this may lead to heart attack and stroke. Simply put, blood pressure is a measure of the force and pressure put on the blood vessels and organs as the blood passes through them.

Low Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is counted in two numbers:

Systolic pressure: It is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats.

Diastolic pressure: Also known as the second number, it is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as the heart relaxes between beats, i.e. when the heart is at rest.

Normal blood pressure for adults is a diastolic pressure below 80 mmHg and systolic pressure below 120 mmHg.
Fortunately, the DASH diet has been shown to control high blood pressure in healthy people as well as those who already have high blood pressure.

Plus, the results were achieved even though people did not lose weight or restricted their sodium intake.
However, when salt intake was restricted, people found that the DASH diet lowered their blood pressure even further.

The bottom line is that following the DASH diet is proved to be highly efficient at lowering blood pressure, especially in those who already are dealing with high blood pressure problem.

What to Eat on The DASH Diet?

The DASH diet recommends people to eat a lot of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. People on the DASH diet are also recommended to eat fish, legumes, nuts, and seeds a few times a week.

Have a look at the suggested servings from each food group for the 2,000-calorie-a-day DASH diet:

Whole Grains: 6 to 8 Servings per Day

Do you eat whole grains? Well, if you follow the DASH diet, then you must add whole grains to your diet. Whole grains include whole grain bread, whole grain breakfast, brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa.

Whole grains and have more fibre and nutrients, and hence they are healthier than refined grains. For instance, eat brown rice instead of white rice, whole-grain bread instead of white bread. Look for products labelled “100 percent whole wheat” or “100 per cent whole grain.”

Examples of a serving include:

• 1 slice of whole grain bread
• 1 cup of cooked oatmeal
• 1 ounce of dry, whole grain cereal
• ½ cup of cooked rice, cereal, or pasta

Vegetables: 4 to 5 Servings per Day

Do you like vegetables? Good news for you! You can eat almost all vegetables when you are on the DASH diet. Tomatoes, broccoli, sweet potatoes, greens and cauliflower all are a part of the DASH diet program.

You can have both fresh and frozen vegetables. When buying canned and frozen vegetables, choose the vegetables labelled as low sodium or without added salt.

Vegetables

Example of a serving include:

• 1 cup of leafy vegetables such as kale or spinach
• ½ cup of vegetable juice
• ½ cup of cooked vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, or broccoli

Fruits: 4 to 5 Servings per Day

Fruits are healthy and must be eaten every day. You must eat a fruit daily, whether or not you are on a DASH diet. However, being on the DASH diet means you need to eat four to five servings of fruit every day.

Have a piece of fresh fruit with meals and one as a snack. If you are taking any medicine, then avoid taking citrus fruits because they can interact with certain medications. Ask your doctor before taking citrus fruits.

Example of a serving include:

• 1 medium fruit
• ½ cup of fruit juice
• ½ cup of frozen, or fresh fruit

Dairy Products: 2 to 3 Servings per Day

While you are on the DASH diet, the dairy products you take should be low in fat. For example, you can have low-fat yoghurt and skim milk. Do not consume a lot of fat-free cheese because it is high in sodium.

Almond milk

Examples of a serving include:

• 1 cup of low-fat milk
• 1 cup of low-fat yoghurt
• 1.5 ounces of low-fat cheese

Lean Meat, and Fish: 6 Servings per Day

Meat is a rich source of vitamins, iron, zinc, and protein. Opt for lean meat and try to eat a serving of red meat occasionally, no more than once a week.

Eat healthy fish, such as salmon, tuna, and herring because these types of fish contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which help in lowering your total cholesterol.

Examples of a serving include:

• 1 egg
• 1 ounce of cooked fish, meat or chicken

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Nuts, Seeds and Legumes: 4 to 5 Servings per Week

Nuts, seeds and legumes are an important part of the famous DASH diet. Almonds, kidney beans, peas, lentils, and sunflower seeds are good sources of potassium, protein, and magnesium. They help to fight against some cancers and heart disease.

Examples of a serving include:
• 1/3 cup of ounces of nuts
• 2 tablespoons of seeds
• ½ cup of cooked legumes

Oils and Healthy Fats: 2 to 3 Servings per Day

If you are on the DASH diet, then you must opt for vegetable oils. These include corn oil, olive oil, and canola oil.
DASH diet recommends that you eat healthy fats and avoid trans fat. Fat helps the body absorb essential vitamins and improves the immune system.

Examples of a serving include:
• 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons of salad dressing
• 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil

Candy and Added Sugars: 5 or Fewer Servings per Week

The DASH diet does not ask you to stop eating sweets, but you have to limit the consumption of sweets. When you eat sugary foods, choose those that are low-fat.

Sweets

Examples of a serving include:
• 1 tablespoon of jelly
• 1 tablespoon of jam
• 1 tablespoon of sugar

How to Follow the DASH Diet?

Here is a one-week sample menu of the DASH Diet based on 2000 calories:

MONDAY

Breakfast 1 cup oatmeal, 1 cup of skim milk, ½ cup of blueberries, ½ cup of fresh orange juice
 Mid-Day Snack 1 medium apple, 1 cup of low-fat yoghurt
Lunch Sandwich made with 2 slices of whole grain bread, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, 3 ounces of canned tuna/vegetables, 1 cup of vegetable soup, 1.5 ounces of green salad
Evening Snack 1 medium banana
Dinner 3 ounces of lean chicken breast cooked in a teaspoon of vegetable oil, ½ cup of broccoli, ½ cup of carrots, 1 cup of brown rice

 

TUESDAY

Breakfast Two slices of whole wheat toast with one teaspoon of jelly or jam. ½ cup of fresh orange juice and one apple
Mid-Day Snack 1 medium banana
Lunch 3 ounces of the lean chicken breast with two cups of green salad, 1.5 ounces of low-fat cheese and one cup of brown rice
Evening Snack ½ cup of canned peaches and 1 cup of low0fat yoghurt
Dinner 3 ounces of salmon cooked in 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil with 1 cup of boiled potatoes and 1.5 cups of boiled vegetables

 

 

WEDNESDAY

Breakfast One cup of oatmeal, 1 cup of skim milk, ½ cup f blueberries and ½ cup of fresh orange juice
Mid-Day Snack 1 orange
Lunch 2 slices of whole wheat bread, 3 ounces of veggies or lean meat, 1.5 ounces of low-fat cheese, ½ cup of green salad, and ½ cup of cherry tomatoes
Evening Snack 4 whole grain crackers with 1.5 ounces of cottage cheese, ½ cup of canned pineapple
Dinner 1 cup of mashed potatoes, ½ cup of green peas and ½ cup of broccoli.

 

 

THURSDAY

Breakfast 1 cup of oatmeal, 1 cup of skim milk. ½ cup of raspberries, ½ cup of fresh orange juice
Mid-Day Snack 1 medium banana
Lunch Salad, 1 boiled egg, two cups of green salad, ½ cup of cherry tomatoes, two tablespoons of low-fat salad dressing and two slices of whole wheat toast.
Evening Snack ½ cup of canned pears and one cup of low-fat yoghurt.
Dinner 3 ounces of lean meat, one cup of mixed vegetables and one cup of brown rice.

 

FRIDAY

Breakfast 2 boiled eggs, ½ cup of cherry tomatoes, ½ cup of baked beans. 2 slices of whole wheat toast, 1 teaspoon of margarine, ½ cup of fresh orange juice
Mid-Day Snack 1 apple
Lunch Two slices of whole wheat toast, 1.5 ounces of low-fat cheese, ½ cup of cherry tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise, ½ cup of salad greens
Evening Snack One cup of fruit salad
Dinner 1 cup of spaghetti and ½ cup of green peas

 

SATURDAY

Breakfast 2 slices of whole wheat toast with two tablespoons of peanut butter, 1 medium banana, two tablespoons of mixed seeds and ½ cup of orange juice
Mid-Day Snack 1 apple
Lunch 3 ounces of grilled chicken, 1 cup of roasted vegetables and one cup couscous
Evening Snack ½ cup of mixed berries and one cup of low-fat yoghurt
Dinner 3 ounces of chicken with 1 cup of brown rice, ½ cup of lentils and 1.5 ounces of low-fat cheese
Dessert Low-fat chocolate pudding

 

SUNDAY

Breakfast 1 cup of oatmeal with one cup of skim milk, ½ cup of blueberries and ½ cup of fresh orange juice.
Mid-Day Snack 1 medium pear
Lunch Salad made with three ounces of the lean chicken breast, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, 2 cups of green salad, ½ cup of cherry tomatoes, ½ tablespoon of seeds and four whole grain crackers.
Evening Snack 1 banana and ½ cup of almonds
Dinner 3 ounces of chicken with 1 cup of boiled potatoes, ½ cup of broccoli and ½ cup of green peas

 

The DASH diet does not help lower blood pressure, but it also helps lower risk of some cancers, diabetes and heart disease. Follow this diet to manage blood pressure and go for a health checkup on a regular basis to keep health problems at bay. Do not forget to consult your doctor before starting this diet.

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