The DASH diet is primarily touted for its positive effects on blood pressure, but the science-backed plan can also lead to weight loss in some people because of its focus on eating fresh, whole foods. The dietary approach to stop hypertension, or the DASH diet, has been consistently ranked by US News and World Report as one of the best diets for heart health and weight loss, and it’s no wonder why those with extreme calorie or food group restrictions have no scientific evidence to back it up effectiveness, the DASH diet involves manageable dietary changes that are flexible and based on proven nutritional advice.
Who exactly is the DASH diet good for and what types are there?
According to the American Heart Association, blood pressure levels above 130 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for systolic blood pressure and above 80 mm Hg for diastolic blood pressure are considered high. The DASH diet specifically meets low sodium (salt) requirements. which can give people an edge over high blood pressure. This means it’s a great diet for people with high blood pressure or a personal or family history of heart disease, as well as those who may be at risk for type 2 diabetes or are currently managing the condition.
Types of the DASH Diet depending on your health needs, you can choose from 2 forms of the DASH diet:
The Standard DASH Diet
This plan limits sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day.
The Low Sodium DASH Diet
This version requires you to limit your sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day. Depending on your weight loss or weight maintenance needs, you can choose a DASH diet plan that provides 1,200, 1,400, 1,600, 1,800, 2,000, 2,600, or 3,100 calories per day.
How does the DASH diet help reduce blood pressure?
The DASH diet works by not only limiting salt but also limiting saturated fat, which can be detrimental to heart health, says Kimberley RoseFrancis, RDN, CDE, a nutritionist based in Sebring, Fla. High-sodium salt can increase blood pressure, which puts unnecessary pressure on the heart muscle. Saturated fat, on the other hand, can raise cholesterol levels.
The DASH diet also works by increasing foods that provide fiber, lean protein, and other nutrients thought to help lower blood pressure. It’s also important to note that people looking to lower their blood pressure should combine their diet with other healthy lifestyle approaches to help control high blood pressure. , such as exercising more, losing weight, and reducing alcohol.
Quitting smoking is also crucial for lowering blood pressure and maintaining good heart health.
The possible short- and long-term effects of the DASH diet.
Research shows that the DASH diet can help lower blood pressure, at least in the short term, but longer studies are needed to determine whether the DASH diet results in lower rates of heart disease for those who adhere to it long-term. Still, for many, the DASH diet is the perfect double whammy: a sensible diet to keep blood pressure in check and shed pounds or maintain a healthy weight.
Long-Term Potential The diet offers variety and is easy to follow as a lifelong dietary decision. Lower Blood Pressure and Improve Healthy Cholesterol Levels Studies have shown that people who follow this diet can lower their blood pressure, and reduce the risk of certain diseases.
A stronger heart can improve other aspects of your health, such as B. kidney function, blood sugar control, and eye health. A study published in Clinical Nutrition in October 2019 found that the DASH diet reduced the risk of developing leaky chronic kidney disease.
The DASH diet requires eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, but only a moderate amount of whole grains, as well as lean sources of protein and healthy fats like fish and nuts. This sets the DASH diet apart from other popular plans, like the Atkins diet, the ketogenic diet, or the high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.
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