Ready for a New Diet?
The word diet makes the DASH diet sound like many of the crazy diets you may have come across. But the diet isn’t a fad, it is different from others because it does not focus on weight loss. Managing high blood pressure is its main focus.
The acronym DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The diet was developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). It aims to lower blood pressure naturally. The main idea behind the diet is to reduce sodium intake while increasing consumption of nutrients that aid in lowering blood pressure such as potassium and magnesium. The DASH diet encourages one to eat healthy foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products. Red meat, fatty and sweet foods are to be avoided.
Research has shown that the secret to lowering blood pressure is adopting a healthy lifestyle. Sure, medications can help in stabilizing blood pressure, but they are often accompanied by unpleasant side effects. Medical experts agree that the DASH diet helps in lowering blood pressure. It also helps prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases. But its benefits go beyond managing hypertension and decreasing the risk of degenerative diseases, it also aids in weight loss. It is a great gout diet.
What is the Dash Diet?
The DASH diet is a plant-based diet that encourages eating a balanced diet comprised of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and healthy fats. It originally started as a high blood pressure diet but has been embraced by people looking to lose weight. The good news is that the diet is not restrictive, it can be adopted by the whole family. In fact, it can be turned into a way of life.
What’s On the DASH Diet Menu?
The main aim of the DASH diet menu is to reduce sodium levels and to increase the intake of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Lean meat such as poultry and fish is to be eaten in moderation while red meat, fatty, and sugary foods are to be avoided at all costs.
The recommended calorie intake is not more than 2,000 calories a day. But if losing weight is part of the agenda, an average of 1,600 calories a day is recommended.
The DASH diet tries to enhance the intake of critical nutrients associated with reducing blood pressure such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. While on the diet, you are expected to eat:
- Whole Grains: On a daily basis, you must consume at least 6-8 servings of whole grains. Foods such as whole wheat bread, cereal, and pasta are recommended. Whole grains are more nutritious and contain high levels of fiber as compared to refined grains.
- Fruits: Fruits are a great source of vitamins and fibre. You can eat fresh or dried fruits but make sure they do not have any artificial sweeteners. The recommended amount is 4-5 servings of fruits daily.
- Vegetables: Make room for greens in your diet. Nutritionists recommend 4-5 servings of greens a day.
- Low-Fat Dairy Products: These include skimmed milk and yoghurt. Dairy products provide you with calcium and vitamin D. To get adequate nutrients, consume at least 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy products a day.
- Lean Meat: Lean meat such as poultry and seafood should be eaten in small quantities. 6 or less servings a day are enough to give you the required nutrients. Red meat should be avoided as it is high in fats and cholesterol. If you decide to eat red meat, cut out the fatty parts. Grill or roast it instead of frying.
- Nuts and Seeds: Have 4-5 servings of seeds and nuts a week. Serve them in small quantities to avoid additional calories.
- Fats and Oils: It is okay to have 2-3 daily servings of these two. However, always purchase fats and oils that are low in saturated fats and trans fats.
- Sweets and Alcohol: If you have a sweet tooth, it is recommended that you eat 4 or fewer servings of sweets per week. Men can have two glasses of alcoholic drinks and women one.
- Processed Foods: Cut back and ideally eliminate all processed foods. This includes: anything that has preservatives in it, anything that has an ingredient list more than 3 lines or has words you cannot pronounce or when you look them up are not healthy and ideally anything that comes in a package.
- Water: Be sure to drink at least ½ ounce of pure, spring, alkaline or structured water for every pound you weigh.
Dash Diet Recipes
The notion that fruits, lean meat, and whole grains are more expensive than processed foods makes most people think that the DASH diet is expensive. What many don’t think about are the long-term benefits. An unhealthy lifestyle will eventually cost you more in terms of medical bills and bodily discomfort. The DASH diet is a simple plan that encourages you to eat healthy foods.
There are many recipes that can keep your DASH diet diverse, tasty, and healthy. Below are some of the DASH diet recipes than can help you to transition smoothly.
Spring Shrimp Rolls
These shrimp rolls will leave you wanting more. The best part is that you don’t have to deep fry the shrimp. In addition, you can experiment with different veggies and herbs.
- Rice paper (12 sheets)
- Lettuce leaves (12)
- Basil leaves (12)
- Fresh cilantro (¾ cup)
- Shredded carrots (1 cup)
- 1 thinly sliced cucumber
- 20 ounces of peeled and de-veined shrimp (1 ¼ pounds)
- Wash all the vegetables (lettuce, basil, cilantro, carrots, and cucumber).
- Dip a sheet of rice paper in warm water then place it on a paper towel.
- Place a leaf of lettuce, a basil leaf, cilantro, cucumbers, and carrots on the rice paper.
- Roll the rice paper over the vegetables and tuck the ends to prevent the vegetables from spilling.
- Place shrimp on the rice cover.
- Repeat the process on the remaining vegetables.
- Serve immediately.
Apple Spice Baked Oatmeal
- 1 beaten egg
- Sweetened applesauce (½ cup)
- Low-fat milk (1 ½ cups)
- 1 tbsp of vanilla
- 1 chopped apple (1 ½ cups)
- Rolled oats (2 cups)
- 1 tbsp of baking soda
- Salt (¼ tsp)
- 1 tbsp of cinnamon
- Toppings ( 2 tbsp of brown sugar and 2 tbsp of chopped nuts)
- Preheat oven to 375⁰ F.
- Lightly oil your baking pan.
- Mix the first 4 ingredients and the oil in a bowl and add the apple.
- In another bowl, mix the salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and rolled oats.
- Add the second mixture to the first.
- Pour the blend into the baking pan and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the brown sugar and nuts.
- Return it to the oven and bake for 3-4 minutes or until the oatmeal top is brown and the sugar bubbles.
- Remove pan from oven and allow it to cool.
- Serve your oatmeal warm and refrigerate the leftovers.
Get Healthier With the DASH Diet
The benefits of the DASH diet are numerous. It will improve your overall health, change your lifestyle, and help you to lose weight. The diet is all about the healthy foods we eat. Do away with the unhealthy foods you have incorporated into your diet and stick with the healthy ones. Start small and before you know it, you will have developed a habit that will keep you healthy for good.
Author: Esateys Stuchiner
Esateys (pronounced Ee sáh teez) is an International Life Transformational Speaker, Author, Master Facilitator, Life Coach and Expert in the Human condition. She is a Nationally and Board Certified Nurse Practitioner. For over 30 years, she has practiced, taught and lectured extensively in the allopathic and alternative medicine field.
Esateys is known for her groundbreaking work in the areas of personal empowerment and health restoration using mindset and inner connection as the catalyst for all change.
Esateys describes herself as the ‘Architect of the New You’ and has dedicated her life and professional career to helping her clients create “New Beginnings” by facilitating self empowerment, economic freedom and restored health.
For more information, go to esateys.com.