What Is the DASH Diet? The Scientific Plan for Lowering Blood Pressure

‘Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension’ is what the acronym DASH stands for and represents a healthy diet plan. Preventing heart disease and lowering blood pressure is a very common agenda practiced worldwide. Heart-healthy foods rich in potassium and low in sodium are one of the criteria for designing the diet. It is not a very rigid eating plan but allows a variety of foods. An added benefit is that weight loss may also result from such a planned diet. Consider a few diet examples: leafy greens, whole grains, fruits, and nuts. Calcium and magnesium, protein, and fiber are plentiful. Lean meats and low-fat dairy are healthy too. Sugars, saturated fat, red meat, and whole-milk dairy are naturally deleted from the DASH diet.

Living with hypertension and the risk of heart disease is stressful. Endorsed by research and leading authorities, the DASH diet developed long ago in the early 1990s. DASH diets are recommended to reduce heart risks and lead healthy lives. A regular active lifestyle with ample exercise and a nutritious diet with sufficient peaceful sleep are other aspects of healthy living.

A Sustainable Diet Plan

Unlike fads and fashions that come and go for short durations, the DASH diet is a tried and tested eating plan that will endure. Any change requires time and effort. Sacrifices need to be made of favorite fast foods that may not be healthy. Prevention of heart problems works fine through this diet, along with weight loss. Those already in the grip of high blood pressure and heart disease have no choice but to practice DASH eating to improve their health. It is a scientific plan that deletes harmful foods or controls their consumption. Rather than a sudden change, it could be a gradual change in phases.

A Sample DASH Menu for a Day

Try out the basics for those interested in the DASH diet that aims for 2000 calories daily. If weight loss is also on target, adjustments regarding food amounts in terms of the person’s height and weight will be required.

Breakfast consists of a cup of cereal and low-fat milk, a banana, and a cup of orange juice.

Snacks may be a handful of unsalted almonds.

Lunch consists of a cup of chicken salad and three slices of whole wheat bread.

Snack on a moderate portion of raisins.

Dinner includes moderate roasted beef with boiled green beans and a baked potato. An apple and a cup of low-fat milk could be added. Fat-free fruit yogurt could serve as dessert.

DASH Diet of 2000 Calories

The quantity and servings would be arranged according to the calorie requirements. Under the different food groups, what would the servings be like?

Grains count for seven servings each day. Each serving Includes an ounce of dry cereal or ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta, and a slice of bread.

Vegetables would have five servings for the day. Each serving means ½ cup of vegetable juice, 1 cup of raw leafy vegetable, or ½ cup of raw or cooked vegetables.

Fruits make up five servings a day. A serving could have a single medium-sized fruit, ½ cup canned fruit, or ½ cup fruit juice.

Low-fat dairy products can have three servings a day. A serving means a cup of milk or yogurt or 1 or 2 ounces of cheese.

Lean meats or fish are allowed six servings of an ounce each per day. One serving is an ounce of cooked meat, fish, or a single egg.

Nuts and seeds, legumes too, have five servings a week. A single serving consists of 1/3 cup of nuts or two tablespoons of peanut butter. Further, it could be two tablespoons of seeds or ½ cup of dry beans or peas.

Oils can have three servings each day. One serving is meant a teaspoon of vegetable oil or one tablespoon of mayonnaise. If it is salad dressing, two tablespoons are allowed.

Sugars are restricted to 4 servings a week. A serving consists of 1 tablespoon of jelly or jam or 1 cup of lemonade.

Choose From 2 DASH Forms

In terms of sodium that kills silently, it is wise to limit it in daily food consumption. Choose from the two options with differences in sodium intake. The lesser, the better. High sodium results in brain dysfunction that can lead to coma and death. High blood pressure results from excess sodium which could lead to heart disease and stroke. As much as 90% of the sodium consumed daily is via the salt in food. 

  • According to the standard DASH menu, sodium content in food stands at 2300 mg daily. (a single teaspoon of table salt for a day)

  • An alternative lower sodium DASH diet limits sodium intake to 1500 mg daily. (2/3 teaspoon of table salt for a day)

The top DASH diet, Approved by the Research

Fad diets impose too many restrictions that are not practically realistic and cannot be sustained. Within a short time, the effects will not be felt. In comparison, the DASH diet is meant for the longer term. Several food choices with few restrictions, like sodium and red meats, make it realistic. Grains and fats that benefit the heart are some DASH highlights. Salmon and avocado are representatives of healthy foods. The DASH changes in diet make a lot of sense and are flexible and proved beyond doubt to be very nutritious. Doctors and dietitians unanimously appreciate the DASH eating plan as contributing to a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle.

Protect the Heart With DASH

A global killer, hypertension, or high blood pressure affects many millions. Many of them do not know about the escalating blood pressure. Heart disease leads among causes of death worldwide. Resistant hypertension means high blood pressure despite medications. Diet changes can impact such cases and reduce blood pressure. The range should be 130 mmHg for systolic and 80 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure which is considered normal. Avoiding processed foods as a rule, eat more whole grains and lean meats. Go for ample fruits and vegetables. Low-fat or fat-free dairy is good too. Eat and drink within limits.

Change takes time, but deleting red meats, sugary, and processed foods will gradually be possible. Start with limiting them. Aim for a high-flavanol diet to lower blood pressure which might reduce within two weeks. When combined with regular exercise like walking and running, the effects are felt soon. Weight loss would also be possible.

Look forward to a cheerful lifestyle with few health worries.

Updated on: 30-Jan-2023


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