DASH-Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension was originally a diet developed to combat hypertension but DASH diet has also proved effective for weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
The DASH diet’s philosophy is about lowering your Sodium( salt) intake and take foods rich in nutrients like Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and other micro nutrients that lower the blood pressure.
Why is DASH diet highly recommended for weight loss?
The reason for that is because DASH is a whole diet that does not starve you. You do not feel empty but at the same time you get enough nutrients through the diet.
DASH diet can also lower your blood pressure in as little as 14 days. It will bring the systolic pressure from a high of 12 to 7 in a matter of days. Moreover the DASH diet is able to positively change the condition of Diabetes,Osteoporosis, Cancer and stroke patients.
THE TWO FORMS OF DASH DIET FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
For high blood pressure patients, there are two forms of DASH diet. Both advocate a low intake of Sodium and are like this:
a. Standard DASH diet: In the standard DASH diet, you can consume up to 2300 mg of Sodium/day.
b. Low Sodium DASH diet: In the low Sodium DASH diet you can consume only 1500 mg of Sodium per day.
The DASH diet consists of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fish, poultry,nuts like almonds that are high in Potassium.
What to eat while following the DASH diet?
While following the DASH diet you may wonder what you are supposed to eat. Here are the guidelines of what you can and should eat.
Grains: 6 to 8 servings a day:
By 6 to 8 servings we are achieving around 2000 calories.You can eat bread, pasta,cereal or rice and the way you can eat that is taking just one slice of whole wheat bread. Avoid spreading butter or cheese, since butter is fatty and has lots of salt. Salt means Sodium and sodium is the main enemy of our diet.
Brown rice is rice that has not been polished and has the vitamin B intact, it is also more fibrous and instead of a cup of white rice you can rather choose a serving of brown rice.
While choosing breads it would be better if you chose whole grain bread or multi grain bread for you.
Vegetables 4 to 5 servings a day:
Green leafy vegetables, tomatoes,sweet potatoes are quite rich in Potassium. You could eat a cup of greens or other cooked vegetables.
A curry made of vegetables can be served as the main dish and you can thus save on calories which would have come from making something else as the main dish.
Fruits 4 to 5 servings a day
Instead of consuming fruit juices I would suggest going for whole fruits. The reason is that most fruit juices lack fibres and they are something that provide roughage and clean you digestive tracts. Moreover in processed fruit juices a lot of sugar is added,not to mention the preservatives.
Bananas are quite high in potassium and you can consume slices of your favourite fruits between meals to keep the gnawing feeling of hunger away.
Eat the peels of whatever fruit’s peels are edible like apples and pears. They have vitamins.
Dairy 2 to 3 servings a day
Milk and yoghurt and other dairy products are high source of Calcium and in DASH diet you need to incorporate low fat dairy products into your diet. In one serving you can include a cup of skim milk.
Sweetened yoghurt can be good source of energy and it also is a good and tasty item to eat while not going out of the diet.
Lean meat,less than 6 servings per day
When preparing meat you need to trim away the skin and fat of the meat so that it does not become too much for you. Example of a serving include 1 oz of lean meat.
Also include fish like Salmon in your diet which is high in Omega 3 fatty acids.
Fats and oils 2 to 3 servings/day
In DASH diet you must not eat too much of fat, fats are not all that bad they perform important function and the reason that taste lingers on your tongue is because of the fat.
Trans and saturated fats raise your blood cholesterol and increase the risk of heart diseases. In DASH you need to keep the fats to less than 6 percent of your diet and using coconut oil will greatly help you.
One more tip is that you need to avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as possible.
How to not lose track and follow DASH diet?
It can be easy for you to lose track with this diet because it is bland. It reminds me of the time when I had Chicken Pox or Mumps and I had to not eat any food that had a grain of salt in it. The food is tasteless or at least bland.
Now 2300 mg of salt means one teaspoon of salt and 2/3rd of a teaspoon consists your entire quota of salt in the Low Sodium DASH diet.
SO it can be difficult if you are not prepared. I truly appreciated the value of salt after my recovery from Mumps. Considering the fact that we use salt liberally in foods and various canned items,breads etc. have lot of salt it may be difficult.
SO I would suggest going step by step little by little into this diet with patience and perseverance.
Second thing is that you can mentally reward yourself when you successfully have accomplished something. This helps on build the momentum and keeps you going.
Also add some exercise and fitness activities into your regime. Adding some physical activity combined with DASH diet will lower your blood pressure. When you lose some pounds everything gets better.
One of the best ways in which you can work out no matter what your physical level may be you can always try adjustable dumbbells for that and you can read my adjustable dumbbell review to do just that.
Finally never ever give up because victory lies just around the corner. Even when all ways seem dark there is always a candle burning for you.