The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is a healthy eating plan that has been designed to help lower blood pressure and improve overall health. It is recommended by various health organizations, including the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and has been shown to have many health benefits.
The DASH diet emphasizes consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins, and healthy fats while limiting the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars. It encourages a balanced and nutrient-dense diet, rather than focusing on specific macronutrient percentages.
The diet is based on research conducted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which found that the DASH diet can significantly lower blood pressure in individuals with hypertension, even without medication. It has also been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
The DASH diet recommends consuming a certain number of servings from each food group daily. For example, it suggests eating 4-5 servings of fruits, 4-5 servings of vegetables, 6-8 servings of whole grains, 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy products, and 6 or fewer servings of lean proteins per day. It also recommends limiting sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day (or 1,500 milligrams for those with hypertension, African Americans, or middle-aged and older adults).
The DASH diet is a flexible eating plan that can be customized to meet individual preferences and dietary needs. It can also be combined with other healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular physical activity and stress management, for maximum health benefits.
In addition to its effects on blood pressure and overall health, the DASH diet has also been shown to be effective for weight loss and improving other health markers. It is considered a safe and sustainable approach to healthy eating that can be followed long-term for ongoing health benefits.
Overall, the DASH diet is a scientifically-backed and recommended eating plan that emphasizes consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods while limiting unhealthy choices. It has been shown to have many health benefits and is a safe and sustainable approach to healthy eating.