DASH Diet

Following the DASH diet will help you to lose weight and keep it off for a lifetime.  The DASH diet was originally designed to help those with high blood pressure lower their blood pressure without needing to use medication.  The term DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

The DASH diet not only helps lower high blood pressure and lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing good cholesterol (HDL), it helps reduce the risk of some other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney stones and cancer.

For years the DASH diet has been ranked by medical professionals as one of healthiest diet plans.  Originally the DASH diet was designed to help lower blood pressure and was not designed for weight loss.  In the beginning the diet was fairly high in refined grains and starchy foods which was thought to be good nutrition back in the 90s.  Since its beginning the diet has evolved and now places more emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy.  It recommends cutting back on foods high in cholesterol, saturated and/or trans fats.  Your menu should include some whole grain foods, fish, and lean meat.  Limit your intake of sodium, red meat, alcohol and sweets.  It is recommended that men have no more than two drinks per day and women one drink or less.

When you start the DASH diet plan start gradually Try to limit your sodium intake to 2,400 milligrams per day which is about 1 teaspoon.  This amount includes all sodium you eat, including the sodium used in cooking and the sodium in food products.  Read food labels before purchasing food products.  Enhance the flavor of your food by using spices and herbs in place of the sodium.

For a diet of 2,000 calories per day the recommended amounts are:

6 to 8 servings of grains per day – whole grains have more fiber and nutrients than refined grains so plan to eat more whole grains. One serving is ½ cup cooked rice or pasta or 1 slice of bread, ¾ cups cereal, 1 medium potato

4 to 5 servings of vegetables per day.  One serving is one cup raw vegetables or ½ cup cooked.

4 to 5 servings of fruit per day.  One serving is ½ cup or 1 piece of fruit such as an apple or orange.

2 to 3 servings of dairy per day. One serving is 1 cup milk or yogurt or 1 ½ ounces of cheese.

6 or fewer ounces of lean meat, poultry or fish per day.  One serving is 3 ounces.

4 to 5 servings per week of nuts, seeds and legumes.  One serving is 2 tablespoons of oil, 1/3 cup of nuts or 2tablespoons seeds and 1/2 cup of cooked beans.

2 to 3 servings of fats and oils per day

5 servings or less of sweets per week

In order to lose weight you may have to lower your calorie intake by reducing the number of some of the servings.  For example, on a 1,500 calorie diet reduce the grains to 4 servings, reduce the fruit to 2 to 3 servings, etc.

The DASH diet will promote a healthy lifestyle.  You will be eating a wide variety of nutritious foods.  Try adding some fruit or vegetables to your lunch as well as your dinner.  Include some physical activity in your daily routine.

Many people have used the DASH diet plan to lose weight and have been successful in maintaining their weight loss for many years.