What is the DASH Diet? DASH is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It’s part of the lifestyle changes to make to help lower blood pressure naturally, without medication or in conjunction with medication to help prevent it from getting worse. It’s not really a diet, but more of a change of eating habits. The research was sponsored by the National Institute of Health
It wasn’t necessarily created to help you lose weight, but most people do.
Most people realize that losing weight is more about what you eat, than how much you eat. You’d be pretty hard-pressed to put on weight eating nothing but lettuce and celery. In fact, it might just be impossible and extremely unhealthy. It’s about eating more whole foods, such as 5 servings or more of vegetables and 4 to 5 servings of fruit. Limiting cereals and grains and focusing on more whole grains is also part of the diet. It also includes 2 to 3 servings of dairy, 2 to 3 servings of fat and 2 or fewer servings of meat, poultry or fish daily. Weekly servings are limited to 4 to 5 servings of nuts, seeds and legumes and foods with added sugar, like desserts to five servings a week.
That seems healthy, but why is it special.
The key to the dash diet is eating foods higher in magnesium, potassium and calcium and reduce the intake of foods high in sodium. That includes highly processed meats and many snacks. The DASH diet showed it lowered the upper number—the systolic blood pressure—by as much as 14 points. If you’re borderline, it’s significant and can make the difference in dangerously high and simply high blood pressure.
The DASH diet works, but why?
While there’s little evidence that cutting back on salt actually lowers blood pressure, unless the person’s intake was excessive or that person is sensitive to salt, it does help the person with high blood pressure make smarter choices. It’s just plain healthy to reduce the amount of foods with added sugar and refined grains. It’s also healthy to cut out soft drinks and processed meat.
- Not only will using the DASH diet help reduce blood pressure, so will exercise. The two combined helps you lose weight, which also makes your blood pressure lower, reduces your risk of diabetes and gout.
- Research also shows that diets lower in foods with added sugar can also reduce blood pressure. One study of 43 obese children found that cutting out food with added sugar lowered blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels in just nine days.
- The diet can help lose weight around the mid-section, visceral fat. Many of the same foods are omitted in both types of diets, including soft drinks, processed grain products and processed meats.
- At LIV Fitness we offer an app that provides easy to follow meal plans, which include a grocery list to make it even easier to eat healthy.
For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness