The DASH diet plan was developed by Marla Heller, MS, RD to lower blood pressure without medication in research sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The first DASH diet research showed that it could lower blood pressure as well as the first line blood pressure medications, even with a sodium intake of 3300 mg/day! Since then, numerous studies have shown that the DASH diet reduces the risk of many diseases, including some kinds of cancer, stroke, heart disease, heart failure, kidney stones, and diabetes. It has been proven to be an effective way to lose weight and become healthier at the same time.
The original DASH diet research was not designed for weight loss, and was relatively high in refined grains and starchy foods. It was based on the prevailing nutrition “wisdom” of the mid-90s. (Note: The NIH educational materials have not been updated since 2006.) Since healthy weight loss is important to so many people, there was a need to create an easy-to-follow weight loss plan, based on the core DASH diet foods. The heart of the DASH diet is an eating plan rich in fruits and vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy, along with nuts, beans, and seeds.
Fortunately, several new DASH diet research studies have helped optimize the DASH diets. Improved blood pressure results were obtained by cutting back on the “empty carbs” and adding in more protein and/or heart healthy fats. These improvements are completely compatible with the newest research on how to have successful, sustainable weight loss.
The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution is designed to pump up weight loss, especially targeting belly fat, managing metabolic syndrome, and reducing the risk of developing diabetes, while improving heart health. The DASH Diet Younger You complements it, with expanded vegetarian and all-natural options. (Sample menus)
The DASH diet is based on the research studies: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and has been proven to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and improve insulin sensitivity. Blood pressure control with the DASH diet involves more than just the traditional low salt or low sodium diet advice. It is based on an eating plan proven to lower blood pressure, a plan rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy. It emphasizes whole grains and contains less refined grains compared with a typical diet. It is rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber. Your doctor may have recommended this eating plan. It is also recommended by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute , the American Heart Association, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and US guidelines for treatment of high blood pressure.
The DASH Diet Plan
The DASH diet eating plan is a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low fat or nonfat dairy. It also includes mostly whole grains; lean meats, fish and poultry; nuts and beans. It is high fiber and low to moderate in fat. It is a plan that follows US guidelines for sodium content, along with vitamins and minerals. In addition to lowering blood pressure, the DASH eating plan lowers cholesterol and makes it easy to lose weight. It is a healthy way of eating, designed to be flexible enough to meet the lifestyle and food preferences of most people. It can be considered to be an Americanized version of the Mediterranean diet, and to be easier to follow, since it has more specific guidelines. The plan below is for the original DASH diet, which was designed to lower blood pressure, and was not specifically a weight loss plan. The pumped up versions for weight loss is lower in calories and discourages refined and processed foods, which are mostly empty calories. Specifically the DASH diet plan includes:
|Type of Food||Number of servings for 1600 – 3100 Calorie diets||Servings on a 2000 Calorie diet|
|Grains and grain products (include at least 3 whole grain foods each day)||6 – 12||7 – 8|
|Fruits||4 – 6||4 – 5|
|Vegetables||4 – 6||4 – 5|
|Low fat or non-fat dairy foods||2 – 4||2 – 3|
|Lean meats, fish, poultry||1.5 – 2.5||2 or less|
|Nuts, seeds, and legumes||3 – 6 per week||4 – 5 per week|
|Fats and sweets||2 – 4||limited|
How the DASH Diet Plan Works
The DASH diet helps to lower blood pressure by providing more key nutrients, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which are associated with lower blood pressure. These key nutrients are boosted by including more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy in your daily diet. Some people see additional benefits by lowering sodium or salt in their diet. Our book includes additional lifestyle changes to lower blood pressure, such as weight loss, exercise, smoking cessation, and moderation of alcohol intake.
To order DASH Diet books or for more information, refer to www.dashdiet.org